Privatisation of street food markets in London: curating markets and place.

Berwick Street Market, Soho. Photo credit: Vlondons

In a recent edition of The Guardian, there was a story about the privatisation of Berwick street Market, an historic London market in the heart of Soho. Stallholders are protesting for the Council’s decision to bring in a “commercial operator” to manage the market. Why would the Council would do that? Not only for efficiency reasons, but as a councillor mentions, the market needs to “wash its face”. Bringing in a market organiser for Berwick Street is a way of changing the look and feel of the market and the area; as a market campaigner says in the article “the reinvention of markets has got to be done in a curated way”.

This post was originally published in Researching Sociology @ LSE

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From pain to pleasure, fieldwork so far

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I’m very much enjoying the fieldwork stage of my research.  I’ve been collecting data and I try to read frequently about how to improve my performance as a researcher. The other day I found a post about fitting in and “the task of transforming ourselves into the kind of person we need to be in order to conduct successful fieldwork”. That means to adapt to new situations, get to know people, fit in their conversations and be little by little part of their everyday life. This is what I’ve learned so far.

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Micro-stories of Street Food in London

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It’s been a while since my last post. For the past 4 months I’ve been doing fieldwork for my research focussed on the configuration of the street food scene in London as an urban cultural assemblage (I’ll get into that in another post).

My fieldwork is mainly ethnographic; I’ve been doing participant observation; working with market organizers (office work and at the marketplace) and food traders (from pub residencies to setting up the stall, van, cooking and serving food).

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Why am I interested in food?

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I like food. I like eating. My interest is personal and for the past few months, also academic. Just to mention a few things: most of my family and friends gatherings are around food and heavy eating (see pictures); a long time ago I took a culinary anthropology course during my BA studies in Chile, and after leaving my parents’ house I started cooking more often and I learned a lot by reading blogs and recipes on the Internet.

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What are you doing with your old technology?

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It’s Christmas time and many of you might be thinking on getting a new gadget for yourself or as a gift for a loved one. It could be a new version of something that you already have (IPhone, IPad, or laptop) or a completely new technological device. Before buying new technology, we don’t usually think about what will happen with the old things that we’re leaving behind.

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