A wordcloud is an online tool that creates a virtual “cloud” of the most frequently used words from a piece of writing. You interpret it by looking at the patterns and representations of the words in the cloud to help one gauge an understanding of the prominent themes or topics discussed in the writing.

Some of the prominent themes in my wordcloud are “eat”, “food”, “health”, “community” and “people”. When you take a deeper look at how these words are illustrated in the cloud, one begins to see a complex web of connections. This represents my understanding of the relationship between food, health and media. Smaller words that are still dominant themes include “women”, “cooking”, “industry”, “products”, “organic”, “consumption”, “system” and “meat”. These represent noteworthy connections that I made to the overarching theme of food health and media. For example, “meat” is an appropriate size in my wordcloud as one of the topics I found myself revisiting on the blog is the relationship between meat consumption and gender performance and potential implications this has for food consumption and health practices. Check out this post to learn more.

My wordcloud also serves as an account as to how my understanding of the relationship between food, health and media has changed. I’ve learned to think more critically about food and health information, how it is communicated and the way this may impact behavior. I learned to utilize an interdisciplinary approach to enhance my understanding of the relationships between various fields of study. For example, the fact that “meat” and “women” are themes on my wordcloud reflects an ability to synthesize information on a variety of topics (primarily, women’s and gender studies, food, health and the environment) and apply it to my context. Through conducting participatory observations, engaging in readings, participating in discussions and conducting additional research on topics of interest, i’ve developed stronger media literacy skills which has allowed me to form my own opinions and thus, bring perspectives such as women’s and gender studies into the conversation of food, health and media.

Learning about strategic media planning played a significant role in the evolution of my blog as well. Reading about agenda setting and framing theories and how they affect the food and health coverage in the media shifted my expectations of media coverage on food and health issues. A solid grasp of these theories in relation to my context are evident in Partnerships between Food Industry and Health Groups. In this post, I highlight a study that reviewed 206 articles addressing the health effects of different beverages. Researchers found that the likelihood of a conclusion favorable to the industry was 4-fold to 8-fold higher if the study received full rather than no industry funding. Ultimately, this changed how I view partnerships between various stakeholders involved in food and public health issues such as obesity.

Food Without Thought also indicates a continually evolving understanding of these relationships for it demonstrates an ability to recognize my own assumptions and challenge them. This is one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned from my time spent observing, reading, and blogging. Challenging my own assumptions has allowed me to wrangle over my thoughts until I narrow them down and eventually figure out where my opinion lies on a certain issues.

Finally, Food as Medicine details my growth from learning about Grosses’ deficit model which explains how individuals are often portrayed as ignorant compared to expert systems of knowledge. According to the deficit model, the public is represented as needing someone to “help” them, hence experts with scientific degrees and a public that relies on experts to “save” them. This allowed me recognize my own bias toward expert systems of knowledge. I realized that as a result of this I often undervalued other forms of knowledge. In order to challenge my assumption/bias, I attempted to adopt an interactional framework in my participatory observations. I began talking to employees in various departments of the co-op and getting to know regular customers. While I still referred back to expert systems of knowledge in my posts, I also started including the everyday people that I talked to. Thus, I learned to value both expert and lay systems of knowledge. This is reflected in my wordcloud with words such as “knowledge” and “public”.

WP 5/8


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Categories: Prompted Responses


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