E2
Culinary tourism and the anthropology of food

Convenors:
Grant McCall (University of Sydney)
Kaori O'Connor (University College, London)
Discussant:
Dame Professor Mary Douglas
Stream:
Series E: Enchantment
Location:
Henry Thomas Room
Start time:
11 April, 2007 at 14:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

In honour of the work of Dame Professor Mary Douglas on the Anthropology of Food and Drink. Food has now become a destination and medium for tourism, a primary site of cultural engagement and expression, thus opening up new terrain for anthropological exploration. By interrogating food through tourism and tourism through food, this panel aims to better understand social processes, and to advance anthropological theory and methods.

Long abstract:

In honour of the work of Dame Professor Mary Douglas on the Anthropology of Food and Drink. Cornish pasties, Parmigiano Reggiano from Emilia Romagna, Tiki cocktails and Hawaiian luaus are all paradigmatic foods of culinary tourism. Throughout its history, anthropology has been concerned with the ways in which food is fundamental to identity. Nationality, regionality, locality, belief, history, heritage, gender, class, group, temporality, memory and much more are embodied in food and drink and codified in cuisines. Initially, the anthropological study of food took place in relatively closed systems, conceived of as geographically fixed, gastronomically unchanging and therefore authentic. In a globalising world characterised by mobility, national boundaries have been redrawn, societies altered and communities dispersed through migration and diaspora, yet culinary identities, mythologies and terroirs persist, transformed and even intensified by dislocation and change. Food has now become a destination and medium for tourism, a primary site of cultural engagement and expression, thus opening up new terrain for anthropological exploration. By interrogating food through tourism and tourism through food, this panel aims to better understand social processes, and to advance anthropological theory and methods. Contributions are invited that approach culinary tourism from a distinctively anthropological perspective, ethnographically-based and focussing on the 'natives' and on the production of tourism through cuisine, rather than solely on the consumption experiences of the transient tourist. Papers should move beyond the preoccupation with authenticity, exploitation and appropriation of early tourist studies to explore nuanced ways in which food is used to facilitate the enchantments of tourism, to link commerce and culture, and to make the new identities, values and power relationships of tourism material.