Food Fr Thought

Topics: Culture, Structuralism, Cooking Pages: 3 (781 words) Published: March 28, 2013
Outreach Programme
Jamia Millia Islamia
Invites you to the
Second Young Researchers’ Seminar

“Food For Thought”
18th April 2013

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.” ― Orson Welles
Food stands at the intersection of various theoretical as well as cultural concerns. While on one hand Roland Barthes discusses wine as emblematic of French consciousness, as construed symbol of French identity, Claude Levi Strauss uses structuralism to read into the language of cooking, networks of a society’s structure. Similarly, where on one hand food is understood as shaping the diasporic imagination in terms of ‘home’ and ‘heritage’, on the other the very authenticity of a “local” cuisine raises multiple questions in a fast changing and mutable “world without borders.” The representation of food and cooking in literature, movies, television and the internet as also other domains of popular culture has solicited multiple responses. There has been a concomitant growth in popular T.V shows such as Master Chef, Kitchen Champions and popular fast food joints which dot the cities these days. Critical discourses on the same have made some interesting postulations. Where Arjun Appadurai’s analysis of cookbooks typifies what goes into the making of a national cuisine, Niki Strange provides us with a sneak peek into various ‘alluring’ elements of cookery programmes. While there is a proliferation of discourses around production of and innovation in food especially as represented in the media, a parallel and polar text of constant shortfall, famine and unavailability has not become altogether

invisible either. Questions of ownership, hoarding, entitlement, market, starvation and so on thereby acquire acute pertinence today. Amartya Sen shares interesting insights when he draws a fine line between “functions of entitlement” and availability of food arguing that poverty and starvation operate in the domain of the former which is why...
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