Meaning and Eating

Xin Liu

in In One's Own Shadow

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2000 | ISBN: 9780520219939
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923478 | DOI:
Meaning and Eating

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This chapter discusses food as a system of signification. Within such a system, social distinction and cultural difference are produced and reproduced on various daily occasions. The chapter turns to the internal structure of cultural life, as exemplified in the meaning of eating, from which the logic of social action and its explanation are derived. It uses the term “a system of signification” to indicate that food in this part of rural China is at once a social institution and a system of values. In viewing food as a social institution, the chapter stresses that food constitutes a form of collective representation: that is, something beyond the domain of individual choice.

Keywords: food; collective feelings; eating; rural China

Chapter.  8909 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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