Start Geo Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
geology dictionary - geography encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   




  The ways of conceptualizing, evaluating, preparing and consuming foods characteristic of a particular society, cultural group or geographical area. The notion of foodways therefore emphasizes how food preferences are solely determined neither by universal human nutritional needs nor by idiosyncratic individual tastes. Rather, food-related activities are understood as part of broader ways of life or genres de vie (Sorre, 1962) and cultural and geographical variations in food practices and understandings are highlighted. Substantive geographical analyses of foodways are comparatively rare, but are most developed in the United States (see for example Pillsbury, 1998), which is also home to the interdisciplinary journal Food and Foodways. Geographers have drawn particular attention to the regional and ethnic diversity of American cuisines (Shortridge and Shortridge, 1998), apparent even in a sector such as fast food which is often assumed to promote culinary and cultural homogenization. More generally, studies of foodways have emphasized cultural and geographical differences in what is recognized as edible, most obviously due to: culturally specific food taboos; locally distinctive recipes and ingredients; and variations in the ways foods are organized into meal occasions, through local conventions of order, combination and social participation.

Explanations for this variety in foodways often view food choices as a reflection of underlying cultural differences. Max Sorre, for example, saw diet as \'one of the most characteristic … [if] least simple expressions of culture\' (1962, p. 450). In this light, the spatial patterning of foodways can be seen as indicative of more general culture areas and histories of cultural diffusion, as well as pointing to the continuing, if diminishing, importance of folk cultures and traditions in the contemporary world. However, in line with theoretical developments in cultural geography more generally, there is an increasing recognition that diverse foodways are not merely reflections of traditional cultures, under threat in the modern world. For instance, the role food can play in class-based acquisitions of status or cultural capital has been highlighted, along with the less regionalized, but no less geographically differentiated, patterns of food consumption thereby produced. May (1996) has examined the taste for so-called \'exotic\' foods amongst fractions of the British middle classes in this way. More generally, such studies are part of a wider trend to conceptualize foodways less as reflections of pre-existing cultures and more as a means through which the cultural Identities of peoples and places are invented and performed. This is also apparent in research on the public representation of cultural identity through restaurants and food festivals (see for example Lu and Fine, 1995). In consequence, whilst foodways are still often understood as expressions of the culture of a people or place, there is a growing emphasis on seeing how those cultures are themselves in part constructed and contested through food-related activities. (PC)

References Lu, S. and Fine, G.A. 1995: The presentation of ethnic authenticity: Chinese food as a social accomplishment. The Sociological Quarterly 36 (3): 535-53; May, J. 1996: A little taste of something more exotic: the imaginative geographies of everyday life. Geography 81 (1): 57-64. Pillsbury, R. 1998: No foreign food: the American diet in time and place. Boulder: Westview Press. Shortridge, B.G. and Shortridge, J.R., eds, 1998: The taste of American place: a reader on regional and ethnic foods. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield. Sorre, M. 1962: The geography of diet. In P.L. Wagner and M.W. Mikesell, eds, Readings in cultural geography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 445-56.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>
food, geography of
footloose industry


Other Terms : regime theory | Marxian economics | environmental psychology
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us