Food is a highly unique commodity, for though it is essential to every single person on earth, there is no other commodity which is acquired and consumed in such diverse ways. It is a multifaceted social instrument, serving to connect people across cultural boundaries while simultaneously drawing lines through society, dividing people across race and class. Though we have discussed the connections between certain alternative food movements and the creation of a ‘white’ identity, I contend that the social mechanisms of food extend beyond the production of ‘whiteness’, and are intricately bound up in the creation and perpetuation of other racial and class identities in Western society. As the ways in which we consume and engage with food …show more content…
By compartmentalizing food into such racial categories, the ‘white’ consumer draws boundaries between themselves and ‘others’.
Alternative movements, such as eating organic, also become “performative of an elite sensibility” (Guthman 2003, 52), as food is used as a symbol of certain social and environmental values, while the consumption of this food bolsters a sense of heightened moral superiority. Product manufacturers have been particularly astute in rebranding even the most unhealthy of foods, such as sugar, by ‘re-enchanting’ foods, projecting ‘holistic’ notions such as the family farm across their plastic packaging. These “supermarket narratives” play into consumer desires for ‘healthy’ foods by emphasizing ‘freshness’ and ‘sustainability’ (Reisch 2003), ideas which complement the ‘white’ ideology of food. In consuming these ‘healthier’ foods, the white middle class consumer often separates themselves from fast food eaters, who are viewed as mindless fools (Guthman 2003, 55).
Through this, it can be seen that the ‘white’ consumer often assumes that the choice of what to eat is similar for all, and is ignorant that “levels and practices of food consumption have been shaped by social ranking and
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It is a known fact that every human being communicates through language, but perhaps a little known fact that we communicate even through the food we eat. We communicate through food all the meanings that we assign and attribute to our culture, and consequently to our identity as well. Food is not only nourishment for our bodies, but a symbol of where we come from. In order to understand the basic function of food as a necessity not only for our survival, we must look to politics, power, identity, and culture.
Thinking about the importance and significance of food respective to our health, ethnic culture and society can cause cavernous, profound, and even questionable thoughts such as: “Is food taken for granted?”, “Is specialty foods just a fad or a change in lifestyle?”, and even “Is food becoming the enemy.” Mark Bittman, an established food journalist, wrote an article called “Why take food seriously?” In this article, Bittman enlightens the reader with a brief history lesson of America’s appreciation of food over the past decades. This history lesson leads to where the social standing of food is today and how it is affecting not only the people of America, but also the rest of the world.
Society has a way of making assumptions based on one’s physical characteristics. Often at times we categorize individuals to a particular social group. In regard to society’ perception of an individual this however, contributes to the development of social construction of racism. Most people want to be identified as individuals rather than a member of specific social group. As a result, our social identity contains different categories or components that were influenced or imposed. For example, I identify as a, Jamaican, Puerto Rican and a person of color. I identify racially as a person of color and ethically as Jamaican and Puerto Rican. According to Miller and Garren it’s a natural human response for people to make assumptions solely
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In the article “The Pleasure of Eating”, Wendell Berry expresses his idea that in order for consumers to truly appreciate the food on their plates, they should know its origin and how it is produced. Berry was inspired by his realization that nowadays food productions are becoming more and more industrialized, and the consumers themselves are slowly transforming into industrial eaters. He states that there is a barrier between the people and the reality behind food production because people can purchase already packaged food at anywhere and anytime. This makes them ignorant to the hardship and the cruel conditions it went under to get on the shelves. He also criticizes the food industry, as it manipulates people to regard eating as a way of survival and not one of the many pleasures in life. Berry successfully appeals to pathos in order to further convince his urban consumers that eating is an act of pleasure. Therefore, people should take more into consideration on what they are eating and how it will affect them in the long run.
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For many people, culture and identity are closely tied to identity-- sometimes so closely that the things they do, eat, or say may not even feel like a conscious decision. However, from an outsider’s point of view, it is easy to note the differences between cultures in many different ways. One of the most tangible examples of this is, of course, food. When speaking to many people from older generations, it is easy to see how much food is entwined in their stories from the past, whether they come from far away or are still living where they were born. Throughout Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, food is heavily used in many different ways to represent multiple races.
In Slaughterhouse Blues, anthropologist Donald Stull and social geographer Michael Broadway explore the advent, history, and implications of modern food production. The industrialized system behind what we eat is one of the most controversial points of political interest in our society today. Progressions in productive, logistical, retail, and even biological technologies have made mass produced foods more available and more affordable than ever before. This being said, the vague mass production of ever-available cheap “food” carries with it several hidden
“They (Food Production Corporations) may have salt, sugar, and fat on their side, but we, ultimately, have the power to make choices. After all, we decide what to buy. We decide how much to eat.” (Moss 346). In today’s society, junk food needs no introduction as everyone enjoys the taste of junk food because it is fast, tasty, and affordable but not everyone knows what all goes into their food. Over the years the food industries have drastically changed how food is produced and manufactured. Moss reflects upon the motivations and practices by the food industries which have transformed the American food supply by the use of the three key ingredients, salt, sugar, and fat. Through Michael Moss’s use of rhetorical appeals in his book Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, he discusses the extraordinary science behind what is considered tasty food, how multinational food companies use the key ingredients, salt sugar, and fat to increase sales and how other literary elements can help create trust between the author and audience thus increasing the effect of his arguments.
Michael Pollan in his book titled ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma’ takes a critical look at the food culture in the Unites States. According to him, the question that seems to bother most Americans is simply ‘What should we have for dinner today?’ To Pollan, Americans face this dilemma because they do not have a proper tradition surrounding food. ‘The lack of a steadying culture of food leaves us especially vulnerable to the blandishments of the food scientist and the marketer for whom the omnivore’s dilemma is not so much a dilemma as an opportunity; (Pollan). He cites the example of the Atkins diet and how an entire nation changed its eating habits almost overnight. A nation that had deep rooted food culture values would
The story of the fast food industry and its effect on the world is well told in the book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Schlosser makes the claim that, what started out as a special treat for the kids eventually ended up defining a way of life. During a brief period of time, the fast food industry has helped transform not only the American diet, but also our countryside, economy, workforce, and popular culture. The book thoroughly describes how important the two factors of money and power are in today's society. The book clearly establishes the broader thesis that as consumers, we should know what we eat even if it makes us uncomfortable by the knowledge.
When considering food as a part of my identity, there are multiple components that make up who I am. It is a mix of family heritage, experiences, and personal preferences, which all culminate together to form my food identity. While some might see their food identity as one culture, concept, or idea, I see my food identity as a variety. This variety consists of what foods I like and the memories associated with them. Specifically, my memories and experiences with my family have contributed to what I believe to be my food identity.
Sleep, sex, and food are the three most important aspect of a human life. Each of them represents resting, reproducing, and surviving – essential elements that form the foundation of human culture and society. The status of these elements always represents the social stature and cultural ideology, of the desire or dislike of people. Some standards are universal, while some are uniquely formed through generations of different cultural traditions. Food in this case might be the most simple and yet the hardest ideology of desire for anthropologists to catch. Its meaning is never as plain as a recipe of a cooking book, but always attached with the cultural and psychological ideology that is connected with individual and cultural identities.