Eating the Other: Translations of the Culinary Code
Food represents an unalienable component of everyday life, encompassing different spheres and moments. What is more, in contemporary societies, migration, travel, and communication incessantly expose local food identities to global food alterities, activating interesting processes of transformation that continuously reshape and redefine such identities and alterities. Ethnic restaurants fill up the streets we walk, while in many city markets and supermarkets local products are increasingly complemented with spices, vegetables, and other foods required for the preparation of exotic dishes. Mass and new media constantly provide exposure to previously unknown foods, while “fusion cuisines” have become increasingly popular all over the world. But what happens to food and food-related habits, practices, and meanings when they are carried from one foodsphere to another? What are the main elements involved in such dynamics? And which theoretical and methodological approaches can help in understanding such processes? These are the main issues addressed by this book, which explores both the functioning logics and the tangible effects of one of the most important characteristics of present-day societies: eating the Other.
Simona Stano is Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Turin, Italy, and Senior Researcher at the International Semiotics Institute. She holds a PhD in Sciences of Language and Communication from the University of Turin and a PhD in Communication Sciences from the University of Lugano, Switzerland. During her doctoral studies, she worked as Visiting Research Scholar at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Toronto, Canada, where she also obtained a Research Fellowship from the Department of Religious Studies. Dr Stano’s research mainly deals with the semiotics of culture, food semiotics, and visual, urban and communication studies. She has contributed to a number of books and renowned journals, and has presented papers at various national and international conferences. In 2014, Dr Stano was awarded the title of “Expert in Philosophy and Theory of Languages” from the University of Turin, and in recent years she has worked as Lecturer and Examiner at various universities in Italy and abroad.
"Simona Stano’s Eating the Other is an important contribution in the field of semiotics of food. [...] [T]he most impressive aspect of Simona Stano’s work is the complex articulation of the theoretical and methodological framework, developed by the author in the first part of the book, by drawing relevant conceptual tools from several different approaches and streams of research within the semiotic field and beyond (anthropology, sociology, ethnology, ethnography). This reveals a fundamental epistemological position: what counts is the understanding of signification and the discovery of meaning of the object of study by making use of all useful means. At the same time, by adopting models, concepts and tools from other relevant disciplines, the researcher acts like Lévy-Strauss’s bricoleur, i.e. as someone ‘who invents new contingent solutions by reusing and readjusting the various tools at his or her disposal’ (Stano 2015: 216). The inherent interdisciplinarity of semiotics ... is richly deployed here."
Sabrina Mazzali-Lurati University of Lugano Punctum, 2:2 (2016)
"The author not only presents a careful reflection of food and its symbolism, but pushes the boundaries beyond simply addressing the culinary; by generating a theory and methodology to continue to analyse this continually evolving phenomenon, this becomes a notable and important reference work - not only for those who are specialists on the subject, but it is also essential for those who want to understand culture through gastronomy and ways of consuming it."
Romina De Rugeriis Universidad del Zulia, Venezuela SituArte, 20 (2016)
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