Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food, and South Asia

Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food, and South Asia

Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food, and South Asia

Curried Cultures: Globalization, Food, and South Asia

Synopsis

Although South Asian cookery and gastronomy has transformed contemporary urban foodscape all over the world, social scientists have paid scant attention to this phenomenon. Curried Cultures -a wide-ranging collection of essays-explores the relationship between globalization and South Asia through food, covering the cuisine of the colonial period to the contemporary era, investigating its material and symbolic meanings. Curried Cultures challenges disciplinary boundaries in considering South Asian gastronomy by assuming a proximity to dishes and diets that is often missing when food is a lens to investigate other topics. The book's established scholarly contributors examine food to comment on a range of cultural activities as they argue that the practice of cooking and eating matter as an important way of knowing the world and acting on it.

Excerpt

South Asia is a new hub of intersecting global networks nourished by proliferating material and symbolic transactions propelling bodies, things, and conceptions across national boundaries. In this book, traversing national boundaries is the contingent operational definition of globalization. That implies at least two things: globalization becomes more visible after national boundaries crystallize; and we witness a new kind of self-consciousness about the connections between various locales and between the local and the supralocal in this phase of globalization. Furthermore, the affiliation of food to the body makes comestibles intensely local, in spite of their long history of distant circulation. Thus food is a particularly productive site to interrogate a new iteration of something old, because it links not only the global to the local, but the mind to the body and beyond. By weaving densely local stories, this book draws attention to processes of globalization as they play out at particular places and on specific peoples’ conceptions of themselves and their world.

In the last quarter of the twentieth century, new nodes in the global traffic in capital and culture joined previous flows of the capitalist world-economy from the edges of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. Works such as The Globalization of Chinese Food (Wu & Cheung 2004), Asian Food: The Global and the Local (Cwiertka & Walraven 2001), The Globalization of Food (Inglis & Gimlin 2009) and Globalization, Food and Social Identities in the Asia Pacific Region (Farrer 2010) bear witness to those transformations. Until now there has been no comparable work centering on the South Asian wellspring of unconventional flows of bodies, edible commodities, and cultural conceptions. Although South Asian cookery is transforming the everyday world of urbanites everywhere, there has been little attention given to this process.

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