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Fashioning Appetite: Restaurants and the Making of Modern Identity

Overview

Public spaces have become platforms for the invention and display of self-identity, especially in the affluent West where the restaurant, from local café to Michelin-starred establishment, deftly stages these performances. In this follow-up to her classic Dining Out: A Sociology of Modern Manners, Joanne Finkelstein takes a fragment of social life—restaurant dining—and uses it to examine the dramatic effect our public behavior and social habits have on our private desires and ...

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Overview

Public spaces have become platforms for the invention and display of self-identity, especially in the affluent West where the restaurant, from local café to Michelin-starred establishment, deftly stages these performances. In this follow-up to her classic Dining Out: A Sociology of Modern Manners, Joanne Finkelstein takes a fragment of social life—restaurant dining—and uses it to examine the dramatic effect our public behavior and social habits have on our private desires and sense of identity.

In Fashioning Appetite, the restaurant becomes a liminal space in which public and private boundaries are constantly renegotiated, where our personal celebrations and seductions are conducted within full view of the next table, and where eating alone has become a perilous social minefield. When food is fetishized and identity becomes a capitalist commodity, the experience of the restaurant transforms appetite into both a pleasure and a torment in which being satisfied with one's meal is linked to being satisfied with oneself. Applying new research in emotional capitalism to popular culture's pervasive images of conspicuous consumption, Finkelstein builds a cultural portrait in which every forkful is weighted with meaning.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Glenda Sluga
An original, inventive, deliciously clever, necessary book that invites overindulgence in all the most delightful ways. Joanne Finkelstein has always had a sharp eye for seeing deep into our cultures of conviviality, consumption, and chic.
Margaret Mountford
I shall never think of restaurants in the same way again—but will enjoy eating out even more.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Joanne Finkelstein is professor of sociology at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, and has previously held positions at the University of Sydney and Monash University in Australia and at the University of Greenwich, United Kingdom. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and has been a board member of the research institute, Food Science Australia.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Fashionable Food2. Taste and Desire3. Eating Habits4. Michelin Stars and Western Obesity5. The Anomic Consumer6. The Banality of FoodBibliographyIndex

Columbia University Press

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