The anthropology of food

Authored by: Robert Dirks , Gina Hunter

Routledge International Handbook of Food Studies

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782647
eBook ISBN: 9780203819227
Adobe ISBN: 9781136741661

10.4324/9780203819227.ch1

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Abstract

In this chapter on the anthropology of food, the authors examine eating and drinking as social and cultural experiences. From the earliest anthropological considerations of food to major recent works, the chapter provides an overview of how anthropologists have approached the study of food and culture. Seminal works for major theoretical approaches are discussed and new areas of research are identified. Conveying the breadth of anthropology, the authors discuss the role of cooking in human evolution, archaeological investigations of feasting, historical studies of global commodity trade, and in-depth studies of the foodways of particular communities among other topics. The authors state that anthropological research on food is distinguished by a commitment to holistic perspectives, dedication to comparative methods, and an abiding concern for origins and primal causes. Each of these defining characteristics is described via recent examples from the literature. Although few programs or funding opportunities designated specifically for food anthropology exist, the authors present a number of valuable research tools, data sets, and internet resources available to interested scholars.

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