A Semiotic Approach to Entomophagy

The Language, Localization, and Reimagining of Insects as Foodstuffs in America

In: Perspectives on Global Development and Technology
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  • 1 1 ashleigheali@gmail.com

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While there has been a growing interest in entomophagy in the us, the idea of eating insects is still taboo among the majority of Americans. Many studies have successfully established that, even after being informed about the numerous benefits of entomophagy, most people in the Western world continue to shun the idea of eating insects for a variety of reasons. However, few studies have considered the role that sociolinguistic meanings embedded within semiotic systems play in influencing Western perceptions of insects as foodstuffs. This study elaborates on the means through which the practice of entomophagy can be made more appealing to Americans. Drawing on information acquired through the analysis of a completed survey study that explores food neophobia as it relates to entomophagy, I use anthropological methods to semiotically approach food and insects in order to better understand how these signs shape American perceptions of the consumption of insects. The survey results work to demonstrate that positive applications of language, when paired with food localization techniques, can weaken food neophobia in American consumers who are averse to entomophagy.

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