Over the past years there could be observed a veritable renaissance of the label “Made in Switzerland” in food marketing. In the course of this revival one has witnessed the re-emergence of the “Swiss Farmer”, a figure as mythical as „Swissmade“ itself and a character which looks back on quite a successful career within the national-identitary dispositive of Switzerland. Contrary to the decades between 1890 and 1940, when this character played a crucial role in conservative “agrarian” ideologies, farmers in recent days are not any longer an integral part of comparable political constructions.
In times of liberalization of European agriculture, market entry of German discounters, food scandals etc., the refreshed version of the “Swiss Farmer” is not perceived as a defender of freedom and democracy anymore but as a guarantor of safety and authenticity of agricultural goods. Hence the incorporation of food explicitly labeled as “Swiss Made” can be interpreted as an example for a “consumerist form of identity production” (A. Leitch).
By analyzing the pictorial representations of some of its core elements – the nation, the region, and the farmer’s body – the article explores the visual culture of this identity producing dispositive of “Swiss Made” agricultural products. This comparison of historical and the recent images of the “Swiss Farmer” highlights the function of the contemporary visual instrumentalization of farmers in the marketing of food and demonstrates as well which specific forms of Swissness are produced by doing so.