The panel explores identity as taste and imagery in relation to weddings as sites where individuals and groups reflect on aesthetic sensibilities which in significant ways are linked to differing conceptions of modernity and visuality or more broadly 'sensoriality'.
Weddings feature significantly in contemporary global consumer culture, underlining symbolically the notion to be explored at the conference - aesthetics. A whole industry, based on an economy of mutual obligation and exchange, but equally a desire for conspicuous consumption, for indulgence and sensuous display has evolved around weddings. Amongst the influences of folklore, the events script mainstream popular mass cultural texts that are taken as a yardstick against which to measure one's good taste and thus position oneself in society and beyond. It seems that weddings increasingly are sites where individuals and groups reflect on aesthetic sensibilities, celebrating, dismissing and re-defining social and cultural identities. Traditionally, anthropological studies have focused on weddings as rites of passage or more specifically as transactional systems. Ethnographies often contain symbolic and interpretative accounts of weddings, expounding these as rituals and more specifically transformative processes that are constitutive of both the person and the community. While acknowledging these earlier approaches, the panel invites contributors to show the potential for an exploration of identity in an increasingly globalising world where both people, goods and cultural texts transcend regional or national boundaries. More specifically their relation to differing conceptions of modernity and visuality - or more broadly, through the essentials of music and food, 'sensoriality', - has not as yet been sufficiently acknowledged in studies of wedding culture. The aim here is in particular to emphasise the ways in which identity as taste and imagery has an impact on processes of negotiating, planning and staging weddings.