Fashioning Appetite: Restaurants and the Making of Modern Identity

Fashioning Appetite: Restaurants and the Making of Modern Identity

by Joanne Finkelstein


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231167963
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 05/13/2014
Series: Arts and Traditions of the Table: Perspectives on Culinary History
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Joanne Finkelstein 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.

Table of Contents

1. Fashionable Food
2. Taste and Desire
3. Eating Habits
4. Michelin Stars and Western Obesity
5. The Anomic Consumer
6. The Banality of Food

What People are Saying About This

Alexander Lobrano

Joanne Finkelstein examines the emergence of restaurant patronage as a vital expression of both aspirational and acculturated societal behaviors—by groups and by individuals—with the physical restaurant itself as a public stage for the realization, refinement, and reinvention of self-identity in wealthy Western societies. An engaging read with an original examination of the role and place of the restaurant in affluent Western countries at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

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