Gastronomy: The Anthropology of Food and Food Habits

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There is a clear difficulty concerning the treatment of themes such as consumption, ethnicity, and food heritage, and we believe that the lack of contribution from social sciences especially from anthropology is the cause of these uncovers issues. Authors translation. As a result, it is possible to observe a boost in the scientific production about the theme in the last 10 years, as one can see in Graph 1. Graphic 1: Total of articles published per year in the period from to Among the 78 articles, 70 are available in Portuguese, 7 in Spanish, and only 1 in English, which indicates a timid internationalization of this production.

Rosa dos Ventos published one in and the other in , and Turismo e Sociedade published one in We can observe this impact in Graphic 2, which shows the amount of articles found in each of the five journals that achieved the best marks between and and had more regularity during the period between and Graphic 2: History of publications on the theme in journals that published at least 1 article per year from to This average was significantly inferior in the five previous years , reaching only 3 articles per year.

We believe that this contrast is a result of the development of an emerging subfield. One can also notice a higher average in the years in which Rosa dos Ventos and Turismo e Sociedade published the thematic dossiers. Rosa dos Ventos published 4 articles in and 7 in ; Turismo e Sociedade published 7 articles in Most of the journals are quite new. Considering that incredible growing factor, it is easy to conclude that we are experiencing a significant expansion of tourism studies.

Table 1: Total articles per author and period of publication. These data show a considerable influence of these authors on the subfield. Twelve of them published at least once in the last two years These results show that this scientific subfield is not only consolidating, but also growing, and that it already has its pioneers, researchers that are becoming experts on tourism studies related to gastronomy. The data based in the academic education of those authors, as one can see below, in Table 2, shows that there is an important influence of its original field, the field of tourism studies, particularly at the undergraduate degree, and that the influence from other fields of human sciences increases from the graduate degrees.

Table 2: Influence of scientific fields in the academic background of the 12 main authors. However, by highlighting the number of courses related to tourism studies, as we did in Table 2, we detect that the exclusive influence of those fields decreases a lot, being limited to 2 specialists 1 in marketing and finance for international business, and the other in public management and 1 undergraduate degree in business and management among the 12 main authors.

We believe this to be a result of the features of gastronomy education in Brazil, which has a more professional, technological and business profile. This lack of participation is remarkable not only because several countries, as well as the United Nations and UNESCO, are concerned with promoting tourism and cultural heritage as an attraction, but also because tourism is eminently intercultural. It is a major deficiency because the object conceived in the relation between tourism and gastronomy demands some anthropological knowledge, which offers the appropriate tools to investigate the intercultural background of tourism relations.

In addition, since these journals do not have good marks in other areas, they become unattractive to these scholars, as we can observe see Annex 2 by verifying the ranking of tourism journals in each Evaluation Area. Only one of the tourism studies journals reached A2 in its Evaluation Area, the others are in the B range. These grades make them less appealing for top researchers in this field. This neglect ultimately strengthens the influence of business and public administration, weakens the weight of fields such as anthropology and sociology, and keeps tourism studies deprived from the required knowledge about culture, identity, and heritage that would guarantee theoretical density to the field.

Graphic 3: Distribution of articles per type of research. It generally combines a participant observation, which is inspired in ethnological research, with interviews, surveys, content analysis of menus, gastronomic guides, posters, and websites , and documentary research.

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This type of research is frequently based on subjective criteria for the selection of its materials. A single author, who takes into account a small number of references and puts it in comparison, typically develops it. This type of research generally attempts to encourage and actively intervene in the field, from improving a gastronomic festival to promoting a managerial reformulation of an important gastronomic business.

The data usually come from secondary sources and the results provide only statistical information. Usually developed by two or more authors, this kind of analysis provides an overview about a specific theme or object based on both qualitative and quantitative methods. We found a case of this type, however, the author of this article did not find any results in his search, and ended up carrying out a literature review.

Thus, we considered this case within the cases of literature review.

Although not many, there are a considerable number of literature reviews and theoretical essays, which suggests a concern about the consolidation and delimitation of this subfield. We considered the manifestation of only two types of discourse per article — as one can see in Graphic 4 —, although there is a few of it that incorporates three and up to four types of discourses.

Graphic 4: Main theoretical-discursive perspectives 2 per article.


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This perspective understands gastronomic tourism merely as an economic activity turned to the leisure of the tourist, and that necessarily implies local development. It frequently adopts an uncritical outlook and combines it with a hedonistic point of view. It is the hegemonic perspective in the Brazilian tourism studies on gastronomy, as we have seen in Graphic 4. This perspective depicts cultural changes and hybridization always as degeneration of traditional cuisine. In addition, it debates subjects related to nutritional habits and healthy tourism. It counts all the articles keywords and highlights those ones whit more occurrences, indirectly highlighting their main themes, as seen in Graphic 5 and in Table Our final aim is to present a substantial interpretation of the subject.

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This term suits tourism studies perfectly, since it applies to a wide range of sociocultural manifestations related to food, from culinary identity, knowledge and techniques to the market-oriented consumption. Miguel Bahl and Vander Valduga organized a thematic special dossier on wine tourism in , comprising six articles. Nonetheless, in the area colonized by Italians in the South region of Brazil, especially in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, came up a micro region that became known as the Vale dos Vinhedos Valley of the Vineyards , which was able to attract thousands of tourists.

The government of this State directly invests in researches related to wine, and several professional and undergraduate courses related to gastronomy, tourism and wine recently aroused there. In the wake of this process, people of some other places and regions are trying to reinforce that vocation. Its appearance, however, is more restricted to cultural discussions, which involves the importance of food in everyday local practices and the transformation of these practices by intercultural relations and tourism.

This perspective also extends itself and reaches enthusiasts of heritage, which directly links the safeguard of popular and traditional cultures to local development. The range of this perspective goes from restaurants case studies to local gastronomic festivals and the management of large businesses, as in the case of the wineries in the South of Brazil. In this context, critical approaches are not welcome, and the liberal discourse incorporates many others, including those about popular culture and ethnicity.

Tourism scholars also support this rhetoric. Differences for consumption and eventually, for a certain control. Shalins This demand for traditional culture consumption suggests a contemporaneous tendency in which dealing with difference is the sign of superior tourism, even if this difference is somehow controlled and domesticated. Goody Nevertheless, it contributes to the artificial maintenance of practices of the so-called traditional cultures and peoples, which find themselves forced to preserve a certain configuration.

Therefore, in practice, this arrangement ultimately constitutes a way of conservatism. Sen Hannerz ; Appiah The same is truth about the development of tourism studies in countries of the Latin America and Caribbean region, as well as in Mexico. We sought to understand not only the reasons of this delay, but also the causes of the recent boom in this subfield. A systematic analysis of the scientific production about the theme has proven to be the best way to find valuable clues and to provide an overview of Brazilian tourism studies on gastronomy. This suggests that until recent years tourism studies did not pay much attention to anthropological concepts, which could be helpful to promote an interaction between different fields.

This phenomenon has gained relevance due to the disputes between capitalists, governments and local people over cultural heritage, constituting a scenario to which anthropologists are already familiar.

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It also increases the competition for power and acknowledgement by the expansion of this touristic consumption of the modern otherness. The access to such cultural information and its content in images, forms, and values contributes directly to the construction of ideas about the national, the ethnical, and the race, as well as about gender, age, class, food, and so on.

Nowadays, however, ordinary people are the main dissipaters of cultural stereotypes, which one can easily find in social media. They use apps such as Swarm by Foursquare , TripAdvisor and Google Maps to make noticed their presence and share their opinions related to the places they visit. Thus, the tourists and local consumers in general are who evaluate and rank touristic destinations, restaurants and pubs in real time.

Therefore, it is not by chance that this encounter of cultures shall reveal the political competition settled in the ambivalence of local or regional, or national, and traditional identities and cosmopolitan modern identities. The recent increase of tourism activities has stimulated the scientific research on food-tourism, and culture appears as an important concept for tourism studies, demanding anthropological knowledge.

By that time, some new mechanisms for the circulation of goods and different concepts of civic duties were arising, and national identities were emerging and sparking cultural confrontations. These confrontations became the very connection between different cultures and societies, creating a political arena that would later lose power due to increasing individualism. However, for the local peoples, food-tourism and gastronomy in general may become an important way to project and protect themselves and their cultural heritage in the globalized world.

Moore ed. Cultural Politics in a global age. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. Lima Filho org. The table settings, seating arrangements, order of serving, and conversations all contribute to understanding the implications of the meal for defining tightly-knit social groups.


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  7. You should choose an actual meal you have recently attended, and think about why such meals are so important to all humans, and what they tell us about our social structure. Should we still consider this eating, or is it feeding? You should consider the types of foods, social interactions, and the associated sense of satisfaction to be gained from these locations.

    What is the packaging like? What is the structure of the meal? How do you feel afterwards? What does this eating style tell us about the nature of society, and food culture? Think of the politics of food advertising—remember someone is trying to convince you to eat their product, by making appeal to health, nutrition, price, nostalgia—through some means.

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    Catalog Record: Gastronomy: the anthropology of food and food | HathiTrust Digital Library

    Take your local newspaper and look at the food advertising contained in adverts and flyers. What messages are being communicated? Are certain foods advertised to attract different age groups, genders, ethnic groups? What tells you this? Do some carry misleading messages? Do they suggest a certain lifestyle, health benefit? Are they convincing?

    This is not about writing a critical review of a restaurant. Instead, it is about giving you the opportunity to go and taste the cuisine of another culture. You should choose a restaurant providing a style of food you have not tried before. Do some research into the cuisine, so that you begin to learn the standard dishes, and styles, and then compare your research to the real thing.

    You can explore this form of culinary tourism with a friend, if you wish, and you may include their experiences and thoughts. You will need to draw upon the characteristics of cuisines, notions of authenticity, and domestication. You may write about the cuisine your presentation will be focused on. At the beginning of the semester you will be asked to sign up, as part of a three-person group, to present a cuisine to the class. The presentation will be 15 minutes, with each person contributing equally 5 minutes each. The presentation will follow the format of providing details about the six characteristics of a cuisine.

    Food taboos: their origins and purposes

    You will be expected to research the cuisine, and provide a one page handout for all the class with a synopsis of your findings. More details will be provided in class. I will mark the presentation, but with the input of the rest of the class. Comment Message. University of Toronto Press. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions. Category Main Story , Miscellaneous. They are extracted directly from her syllabus for the course, which focused on BC Lower Mainland food culture: Assignment One: Fourth-Hour Field Notes and Fieldwork Papers All social anthropologists when doing fieldwork will keep a comprehensive journal or field notes concerning their understanding of the material they encounter during daily participant observation.

    The Study of Food

    You will be marked on your ability to: Apply and discuss concepts from the course such as the nature of diets, the characteristics of cuisine, the eating event, etc. Research the topic using academic sources Draw upon a wide range of relevant sources of food culture Interrogate and assess the nature of food culture within the topic you are addressing Present appropriate descriptions, facts, examples, and comparisons, based upon your participant-observation and research, with citations Ask valid questions, reveal your curiosity, and put forward plausible answers Integrate your facts with interpretation and analysis Apply an anthropological perspective, i.

    You will choose two of the following self-paced fieldwork exercises: a Diets: Eat Your Way To… While humans have very specific nutritional needs we have also culturally shaped the solution to those needs through our learned tastes and style of eating.

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