Seminar on “Media representations of health and contemporary food”

The third session of the Permanent Seminar for Research and Community will take place on February 3, at 2:30 pm. “Media representations of health and contemporary food” is the topic addressed by Cynthia Luderer and Rita Araújo, both researchers at CECS.

In this seminar, the researchers will analyze the media representations of health and, more particularly, of contemporary food, starting from the case study of Covid-19’s journalistic media coverage and the speeches published in publications of the culinary genre.

In December 2019 the world was surprised by a new virus that quickly reached proportions on a global scale, and a pandemic was declared a few months later. In March 2020, the Portuguese authorities confirmed the first case of the SARS-CoV-2 virus on national territory and, shortly afterwards, the country would enter a state of emergency and, consequently, in severe confinement. The media has contributed to this confinement, building a front to fight the disease through a permanent concern to guide behaviours.

This scenario was in line with a moment in which debates about the best living conditions for the Planet emerge, with the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda (2015) being a relevant document to raise a series of issues, including food and its opposite – hunger.

The culinary magazines published by the biggest food distributors in Portugal become a unique communication vehicle for understanding this theme, as their narratives are related to the media spectacle around contemporary food consumption. Linked to the stronghold of food, its messages indicate agents and speeches installed in the sphere of this consumption. Among the different repertoires and interests, sometimes disparate or utopian, it appears that the public is summoned by the speeches of Perfect Health, memory and sustainability.

Cynthia Luderer, PhD in Communication and Semiotics from PUC-SP, Brazil, is a researcher at the Communication and Society Research Centre at the University of Minho. Her research interests permeate media discourses linked to the consumption of contemporary food, such as health, sustainability and memory. The PhD internship developed in Anthropology of Food, at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Spain, contributes to its studies to be aligned with the methodologies applied by this discipline. The researcher is attached to Portuguese and Brazilian research groups, which deal with communication, food, sustainability and memory. Her studies are published in academic articles and book chapters, in addition to being presented at conferences from different countries.

Rita Araújo, PhD in Communication Sciences, is a researcher at the Communication and Society Research Centre at the University of Minho. Her research interests are health communication and journalism, information sources, and health literacy. The researcher was Visiting Scholar at Hunter College, City University School of Public Health, New York and was part of the Portuguese team of the Health Reporting Training Project (2010-3675 HeaRT), funded by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning Program. She was a researcher, with a grant financed by FCT, in the national project The Disease in the News (PTDC/CCI-COM/103886/2008). She is the author and co-author of several scientific articles and book chapters and has already presented her research at several national and international conferences.

The session will take place via Zoom and will be broadcast on the CECS Facebook page.

[Posted: 19-01-2021]