Shattuck's research is divided into two divergent areas. His dissertation is in the anthropology of food, focusing on the production of cultural knowledge about food and the way that information is then used to further political, economic, or social ends. In addition to his doctoral research, he is a research assistant for the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation working on health disparities for vulnerable or underserved groups with a particular interest in sexual and gender minority populations.
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Explores the ways in which the social and economic value of extra virgin olive oil in Italy are produced through the foregrounding of biological, socio-economic, political, and cultural threat to its production by those producing and consuming the commodity.
Examines the ways in which an ethic of local food is produced through publically-offered free courses on how to identify, taste, and evaluate high quality local extra virgin olive oil in Tuscany. Theorizes how different meanings of “good” are collapsed together to effectively align “good tastes” indicative of a specific locality (terroir) with “good morals and ethics.”
Uses three ethnographic cases of tourist encounters with extra virgin olive oil in Tuscany, Italy to show the ways in which different types of knowledge including transparency of the production process and expertise about taste are strategically leveraged to produce “authentic” experiences not only for tourists but consumers more broadly.
Argues that the anxiety expressed in the production of olive oil is not only an economic concern but that it is intimately connected to broader anxieties of the Italian nation concerning its place within Europe, its relationship to the Mediterranean, its own particular brand nationalism, and continued concerns over immigration.