Academic journal article Italian Sociological Review

Blank Food

Academic journal article Italian Sociological Review

Blank Food

Article excerpt

Abstract

Eating is not merely a means of survival, it is tied to the mechanisms, with all the rules and underlying connotations, in establishing social relations: in other words, sociality shaped through shared meals. In this perspective, food presentation plays a fundamental role, acquiring in its appearance an aesthetic virtue. In today's social imaginary, we ask ourselves: what is the new frontier of food aesthetics? Moreover, assuming aesthetics clearly shows a specific social outlook, what does this suggest on a value basis? The growing ostentation of food and, above all, creative cooking, serve dishes hard to define as ingredients intend to decorate. A culinary experience thus turns into a social ritual of deliberately abrogating the role and logic of nutrition.

Keywords: social imaginary, eating, hunger.

«La bonne compagnie, honteuse d'avoir cédé à un mouvement naturel, reprit la froideur aristocratique de ses manières polies.»

(Honoré de Balzac, La peau de chagrin)

Eating is not merely a means of survival, it is ded to the mechanisms, with all the rules and underlying connotations, of establishing and reproducing social relations, in other words sociality shaped through shared meals. In this perspective, food presentation plays a fundamental role, acquiring in its1 appearance an aesthetic virtue.

In today's social imaginary, we ask ourselves: what is the new fronder of food aesthetics? Moreover, assuming aesthetics clearly shows a specific social oudook, what does this suggest on a value basis?

Our argument lies on the knowledge that we are witnessing a radical discrepancy on the concept of man as a social being, if not on his very nature. The consequences this has had on food note a singularity, whereas the causes lie in the furrows Western man has dug in the natural world.

The growing ostentation of food and, above all, creative cooking, serve dishes hard to define: the ingredients merely intend to decorate2.

Moreover, the dynamics appear to be in line with some post modern orientations, whereby the makings of history has highlighted a disjunction and a repositioning of the individual who has radically changed his daily habits.

No better suggested in such a course of events are the effects on food with all the implied social implications3. Consumption should not be only limited to its materialistic denotation but also to its symbolical connotations4. Therefore, all the more to food consumption.

Firsdy, the development of social individualities seems to incline towards an inedited physical subjectivity/objectivity of mankind.

The mainstream in considering the body aesthetically results as a reconstituting mechanism of the social individual affected by a process of fluctuation/fragmentation of personal identity5. Thus, the recordable dominance of aesthetics and the centrality of deriving procedures of extreme aesthetics are read as a solution when confronted with the loss (of value) of substances6 and ideological breakdowns. New social aggregations are moving towards the aesthetic-hedonistic7 where the sign seems to display more and more autonomous relevance.

In addition, the body must not only be viewed as a social subject/object, an indispensable piece in the anxious redefinition of the being, but a certain bivalence (the presence of "active and passive forces") can also be extended to everything that concerns the body itself.

In particular, as we will point out, eating considered as one of the first acts man has accomplished can be viewed, just as the body, aesthetically.

Similar processes have developed in the world of art too. Hebermas8 maintained that in post modernity, thematic depth (utopistic revolutionary readings) once conveyed in artistic avantguarde is reduced to a pure esthetic expression (with a marked prevalence of formal over thematic values), so too has post modern food been deprived of its content.

Ultimately, in the social framework in which the (virtual) dissolution of corporeity is inscribed and consumed in cyberspace9, we cannot ignore the apparent dissolution10 in the fuel of the body. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.