This article is a critical inquiry into the shifting nature of the local and the proximate during the COVID-19 pandemic, through the ubiquitous usage of food delivery software applications, or “gastro apps,” in Bangalore, India. I invite a new way to think about the local—both the lived experience of locality and its mapping in techno-location—in the face of the expanding virtual terrain of the global political economy and the foreclosing social worlds of the pandemic, to interrogate the growing disjuncture between local territory and subjectivity and the increasing conjuncture between locality and consumption. Through innovative methodologies using social media platforms, I trace the complex interactions on the popular Swiggy gastro app between migrant deliverymen and middle-class consumers in Bangalore in order to map social worlds of residency, immutability, and nearness, as well as migrancy, precarity, and distance, upon one another, which I argue form an “emergent gastro geography,” where critical interventions in taste, place, and want meet and in which the concepts of the local, the dislocated, and the locational take on new meanings.
“Swiggy it!”: Food Delivery, Gastro Geographies, and the Shifting Meaning of the Local in Pandemic India
Tulasi Srinivas is a professor of anthropology, religion and transnational studies at the Marlboro Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, Emerson College. She is the author/editor of the award-winning books Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food and South Asia (University of California Press, 2012) and The Cow in the Elevator: An Anthropology of Wonder (Duke University Press, 2018).
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Tulasi Srinivas; “Swiggy it!”: Food Delivery, Gastro Geographies, and the Shifting Meaning of the Local in Pandemic India. Gastronomica 1 November 2021; 21 (4): 17–30. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2021.21.4.17
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