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Abstract

Raymond Williams proposed culture as “ordinary”, beyond survival; food is one of the elements that forms the backbone of our everyday culture. Fermented foods play a very important role in local cuisines. In some places, they contribute up to 40 percent of their daily diets. Both products and techniques of fermentation are culture-specific, such as Korean Kimchi, German Sauerkraut, Japanese Natto and Chinese Furu (腐乳). In Hong Kong, fermented foods also permeate in our everyday diet, yet we seldom aware of the food processing nature. For instance, soy sauce, wine, vinegar, shrimp paste, fermented black beans and vegetables pickles, are all considered as local fermented foods. Fermentation techniques evolved by local communities over thousand years have become obscure and are in danger of being lost. Nowadays, fermentation has mostly disappeared from our households and communities.

Increasing health-consciousness has reignited people's interest in home-based production of fermented foods as they have been marketing as health and therapeutic foods in recent years. Some individuals in Hong Kong self-initiate and create communities at Facebook, the biggest social media platform, to discuss and share information on fermented foods online. Posting food-making tips, step-by-step food experimentation processes with photos that are taken in their private kitchen leads to more engaging discussions. These motivate and attract more people to practise DIY fermentation at household level. Social networking site offers a new form of sociability to connect people who are located at different physical spaces to form a virtual and public community. It revives fermentation online and also opens up a capacity to turn online participation and collaboration into offline actions.

This paper is to examine how communication technologies support the revival of fermentation community at Facebook, and mobilise actual fermentation practices in the physical world. Besides, to borrow Silverstone’s concept of performance as a dimension of study in mediated experience, it is also to unfold the reflective and transformational value on the fermentation experience.

Recommended Citation

Poon, H.-y. P. (2014). Performative participation in online community: Revitalising homemade fermentation practices in Hong Kong. Cultural Studies@Lingnan, 41. Retrieved from http://commons.ln.edu.hk/mcsln/vol41/iss1/7/