"Don't mess with Mexican food": autenticidad e identidad en comentarios de Youtube sobre la cocina Mexicana
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Drawing on a long history of ideas centring around Mexican food, discourse analysis techniques and identity theories, this study aims to show the representation of authenticity found in comments on Youtube videos depicting Mexican or Mexican style recipes. We wanted to know where the discussion on authenticity began, how it was expressed and to what extent a national recipe was linked to notions of authenticity. We also looked into how identity was expressed and constructed through the discourse in the comments, and attempted to explain the emotionally charged responses that we found. We employed basic quantitative analysis methods to form an annotated corpus of 524 comments that we then analysed qualitatively, searching for emergent themes and elements that could help us to answer our questions. We found that authenticity was an important factor in the comment section of all of the videos regardless of the original creator’s intent – whether they mentioned the authenticity of the recipe or not. Furthermore, those in the comment section who were making arguments based on their own authenticity always referred back to Mexico in order to do so, which confirms prior research. “Mexicanidad” or Mexican identity was shown to be expressed in sometimes stereotypical ways, and we found that the commentors often implied that if one could master certain culinary techniques, one could gain access to “mexicanidad” and, conversely, if a Mexican leaves Mexico, he loses these skills. Therefore, the authenticity of one’s identity and culinary prowess depends heavily on connections to Mexico. While Youtube is known for its angry comment section, we found that nostalgia and family were important when the commentors viewed the recipe in a sympathetic light. Negative emotional reactions were strongest when commentors reacted to others who criticised the recipe with no grounding – which could explain the need for authenticity argumentation.