The biannual mega-event of Terra Madre is now established as the political flagship of the Slow Food movement. It assembles in Turin the leading cosmopolitan figures of this neo-tribal, post modern organization, along with several thousand of its ordinary members, who were drawn in 2006 from the ranks of food producers, cooks and academics. The most significant secular rituals of Terra Madre involve the theatrical celebration of its global character, beginning with the assembly of representatives from some 1600 ““food communities”” distributed throughout the world. Equally important are the many smaller scale activities in which the details of the movement's politics are articulated and embellished, at times in strikingly rhetorical ways. In this paper, which is based on ethnographic research, the theatrical and rhetorical qualities of Terra Madre as a political spectacle are explored in some detail. It is argued, in conclusion, that what is inadvertently exposed are some of the political myths which lie at the core of the Slow Food movement's contemporary philosophy.
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