Food touches everything important to people: it marks social differences and strengthens social bonds. Common to all peoples, yet it can signify very different things from table to table.

Food and Culture takes a global look at the social, symbolic and

political-economic role of food. The stellar contributors to this reader examine some of the meanings of food and eating across cultures, with particular ...

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Food and Culture: A Reader

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Food touches everything important to people: it marks social differences and strengthens social bonds. Common to all peoples, yet it can signify very different things from table to table.

Food and Culture takes a global look at the social, symbolic and

political-economic role of food. The stellar contributors to this reader examine some of the meanings of food and eating across cultures, with particular attention to how men and women define themselves differently through their foodways. Articles reveal how food habits and beliefs both

present a microcosm of any culture and also contribute to our understanding of human behavior. Crossing many disciplinary boundaries, this reader includes the perspectives of anthropology, history, psychology, philosophy, and sociology.

The reader starts out by illustrating

food's ability to convey symbolic meaning and communicates about a wide range of subjects. Next, the articles draw attention to how the practices of giving, receiving and refusing food initiate, solidify or rupture social bonds. Essays exploring the relation between body image, eating

and sexuality in different societies give particular attention to the special and contradictory relation between women and food. Also demonstrated is the relation between the commodification of food, food industries, political power and colonial dominance.

Contributors include:

Roland Barthes, Susan Bordo, Carolyn Walker Bynum, M.F.K. Fisher, Anna Freud, Jack Goody, Claude Levi-Strauss, Margaret Mead, and Elisa J. Sobo.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Counihan and Van Esterik were my gateway to food studies. It’s simply impossible for me to imagine a more cohesive and enticing anthology of writings about culture, consumption, and cuisine for students, scholars, and the public-at-large. But in this newest iteration we see the abundant fruit of their earlier path-breaking labors: rich new insights about health, lifestyle, social equity, and popular advocacy. The third edition is indispensible."

Benjamin N. Lawrance, Conable Chair in International Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology, author of Local Foods Meet Global Foodways: Tasting History

"Counihan and Van Esterik’s reader has long been a staple of food-related course syllabi and reading lists. This new edition reflects the vibrancy of food studies today with the inclusion of recent key contributions to the field. Anyone who is serious about the study of food should have a copy close at hand."

Harry G. West, Professor of Anthropology, Chair of the Food Studies Centre, SOAS, University of London

"They've done it again. Blending foundational favorites with important new work on race, power, and nation, Counihan and Van Esterik's latest edition of Food and Culture puts our field's diverse and crucial contributions at our students' fingertips."

Carolyn De La Peña, American Studies, University of California, Davis

"For several years Food and Culture has been a phenomenon in the field of food studies. This new, revised edition continues the exciting mix of tradition and innovation, showing the editors’ mastery of a subject that has become increasingly complex."

Peter Scholliers, History, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, co-editor of Food & History

"Food and Culture is the indispensable resource for anyone delving into food studies for the first time. The editors have conveniently gathered readings from classic texts to the latest writings on cutting-edge issues in this field. In its third edition the book has so much new material that it reads as fresh and should appeal to and be useful to students and others from a range of disciplines"

Marion Nestle, Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University, co-author of Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics

"Incorporating both classics and the latest work, Food and Culture remains the essential introduction to the flourishing field of food studies."

Warren Belasco, American Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, author of Appetite for Change, Meals to Come, and Food: The Key Concepts

"Food and Culture is an indispensible collection of both classic and cutting-edge food studies scholarship. Newly updated to reflect current issues and debates, it will continue to serve as a foundation text for our food studies program."

Amy Bentley, Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health, New York University

"This is an indispensable instrument for students and researchers who are interested in food as a social as well as a political and economic object. The new organisation of the book and its 40 chapters opens essential paths of reflection for anthropologists and other social scientists, such as hegemony, globalisation, forms of protest through food, and the transformations of the food system. I highly recommend it."

Valeria Siniscalchi, Economic Anthropology, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales

"This newly revised volume remains the exemplary collection on food and culture, but it is also much more than that. In addressing both core classic and contemporary issues in food studies, Food and Culture brings food to life as an outstanding vehicle for engaging students in a broad range of critical cultural issues that are central not only in food courses but in every course."

Jon Holtzman, Anthropology, Western Michigan University, author of Uncertain Tastes: Memory, Ambivalence and the Politics of Eating in Samburu, Northern Kenya

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781136162022
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 12/7/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 648
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Carole Counihan is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Millersville University in Pennsylvania and editor-in-chief of Food and Foodways. Her earlier books include Around the Tuscan Table: Food, Family, and Gender in Twentieth-Century Florence, Food in the USA, and The Anthropology of Food and Body: Gender, Meaning, and Power.

Penny Van Esterik is Professor of Anthropology at York University in Toronto, Canada where she teaches nutritional anthropology, in addition to doing research on food and globalization in Southeast Asia. She is a founding member of WABA (World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action) and writes on infant and young child feeding, including her earlier book, Beyond the Breast-Bottle Controversy.

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Table of Contents

Foreword from The Gastronomical Me
Introduction 1
Food, Meaning, and Voice 9
1 The Changing Significance of Food 11
2 Toward a Psychosociology of Contemporary Food Consumption 20
3 The Culinary Triangle 28
4 Deciphering a Meal 36
5 The Semiotics of Food in the Bible 55
6 The Abominable Pig 67
7 Traditional Medical Values of Food 80
Commensality and Fasting: Giving, Receiving, and Refusing Food 93
8 Food as a Cultural Construction 95
9 The Psychoanalytic Study of Infantile Feeding Disturbances 107
10 Nutritional Processes and Personality Development among the Gurage of Ethiopia 117
11 Hunger, Anxiety, and Ritual: Deprivation and Spirit Possession among the Gurage of Ethiopia 125
12 Fast, Feast, and Flesh: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women 138
13 The Appetite as Voice 159
14 Conflict and Deference 180
Food, Body, and Culture 201
15 An Anthropological Approach to the Problem of Obesity 203
16 Body Image and Self-Awareness 211
17 Anorexia Nervosa: Psychopathology as the Crystallization of Culture 226
18 Que Gordita 251
19 The Sweetness of Fat: Health, Procreation, and Sociability in Rural Jamaica 256
20 Soul, Black Women, and Food 272
The Political Economy of Food: Commodification and Scarcity 281
21 Bread as World: Food Habits and Social Relations in Modernizing Sardinia 283
22 Japanese Mothers and Obentos: The Lunch Box as Ideological State Apparatus 296
23 On the Civilizing of Appetite 315
24 Industrial Food: Towards the Development of a World Cuisine 338
25 Time, Sugar, and Sweetness 357
26 The Politics of Breastfeeding: An Advocacy Perspective 370
27 Hunger, Malnutrition, and Poverty in the Contemporary United States: Some Observations on Their Social and Cultural Context 384
28 Beyond the Myths of Hunger: What We Can Do? 402
Permissions 413
Contributors 417
Index 421
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