Drinking: Anthropological Approaches

Drinking: Anthropological Approaches

Drinking: Anthropological Approaches

Drinking: Anthropological Approaches

Synopsis

Over the last decades quite a few studies have been devoted to drinking. Most of these were concerned with alcohol and written by social anthropologists. This book presents multidisciplinary aspects of the ingestion of liquids at large, addressing many of the overt and covert meanings of drinking: from satisfying biological needs to communicating with humans and the hereafter, attempting to reach a differential emotional state or seeking good health and longevity through the ingestion of appropriate beverages. It includes papers from both biological and social scientists and covers a fair range of societies from rural and urban environments, and in continents and countries ranging from Europe, Africa, and Latin America to Malaysia and the Pacific.

Igor de Garine , Emeritus Director of Research, CNRS, Paris, and President of the International Commission for the Anthropology of Food

Excerpt

The International Commission on the Anthropology of Food (I.C.A.F.) is a commission launched in 1978 under the auspices of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (I.U.A.E.S.). In the framework of the 14th international congress of the IUAES held in Williamsburg, Virginia, USA (26 July – 1 August 1998), ICAF organised a symposium on ‘Drinking: An Anthropological Approach’. The meeting was pluridisciplinary and accepted papers from both the biological and social sciences. It dealt with all categories of beverages: water, milk, natural juices, infusions, fermented and distilled drinks of all kinds …. Topics included the biological consequences of liquid intake, drinking patterns relating to various types of drinks in different cultures among a variety of biological and social groups, and the socio-economic and cultural aspects of drinking dealing with material as well as symbolic and psychopathological dimensions.

Over the last two decades many anthropological books have been devoted to drinking. They are mostly concerned with alcohol and reflect the views of social anthropologists. This volume, which arises from the papers presented at the symposium, tries to avoid moralistic afterthoughts but presents pluridisciplinary aspects of the ingestion of liquids at large. It covers a fair range of societies from rural and urban environments, involving Europe, Africa, Latin America, Malaysia and the Pacific.

Many of the overt and covert meanings of drinking are addressed: from satisfying biological needs to communicating with humans and the hereafter, attempting to reach a differential emotional state or seeking good health and longevity through the ingestion of appropriate beverages. This book attempts to broaden the common knowledge about drinking and show the complexity of the factors concerned.

ICAF is grateful to Berghahn Books for their encouragement and for creating this series devoted to The Anthropology of Food and Nutrition. We would also like to thank all the contributors and participants in the Williamsburg symposium. We hope they remember the practical work we had to do on beverages as fondly as we do.

Igor and Valerie de Garine December 1999

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