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The preparation, serving and eating of food are common features of all human societies, and have been the focus of study for numerous anthropologists - from Sir James Frazer onwards - from a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives. It is in the context of this previous anthropological work that Jack Goody sets his own observations on cooking in West Africa. He criticises those approaches which overlook the comparative historical dimension of culinary, and other, cultural differences that emerge in class societies, both of which elements he particularly emphasises in this book. The central question that Professor Goody addresses here is why a differentiated 'haute cuisine' has not emerged in Africa, as it has in other parts of the world. His account of cooking in West Africa is followed by a survey of the culinary practices of the major Eurasian societies throughout history - ranging from Ancient Egypt, Imperial Rome and medieval China to early modern Europe - in which he relates the differences in food preparation and consumption emerging in these societies to differences in their socio-economic structures, specifically in modes of production and communication. He concludes with an examination of the world-wide rise of 'industrial food' and its impact on Third World societies, showing that the ability of the latter to resist cultural domination in food, as in other things, is related to the nature of their pre-existing socio-economic structures. The arguments presented here will interest all social scientists and historians concerned with cultural history and social theory.
Although the archaeology of food has long played an integral role in our understanding of past cultures, the archaeology of cooking is rarely integrated into models of the past. The cooks who spent countless hours cooking and processing food are overlooked and the forgotten players in the daily lives of our ancestors. The Menial Art of Cooking shows how cooking activities provide a window into other aspects of society and, as such, should be taken seriously as an aspect of social, cultural, political, and economic life. This book examines techniques and technologies of food preparation, the spaces where food was cooked, the relationship between cooking and changes in suprahousehold economies, the religious and symbolic aspects of cooking, the relationship between cooking and social identity, and how examining foodways provides insight into social relations of production, distribution, and consumption. Contributors use a wide variety of evidence—including archaeological data; archival research; analysis of ceramics, fauna, botany, glass artifacts, stone tools, murals, and painted ceramics; ethnographic analogy; and the distribution of artifacts across space—to identify evidence of cooking and food processing left by ancient cooks. The Menial Art of Cooking is the first archaeological volume focused on cooking and food preparation in prehistoric and historic settings around the world and will interest archaeologists, social anthropologists, sociologists, and other scholars studying cooking and food preparation or subsistence.
The Oxford Symposium on Food on Cookery continues to be the premier English conference on this topic, gathering academics, professional writers and amateurs from Britain, the USA, Australia and many other countries to discuss contributions on a single agreed topic. Forty seven papers are contributed by authors from Britain and abroad including the food writers Caroline Conran, Fuchsia Dunlop, William Rubel and Colleen Taylor Sen; food historians and academics including Ursula Heinzelmann, Sharon Hudgins, Bruce Kraig, Valery Mars, Charles Perry and Susan Weingarten. The subjects range extremely widely from the food of medieval English and Spanish jews; wild boar in Europe; the identity of liquamen and other Roman sauces; the production of vinegar in the Philippines; the nature of Indian restaurant food; and food in 19th century Amsterdam.
Over the past decade or so, the social scientific sociological analysis of the family has been obliged to reconsider its traditional view that industrialisation triggered a shift within society from the 'large family', which fulfilled all social functions from socialising the children to caring for the sick and the old, to the modern nuclear family, which was regarded solely as being the locus for emotional relationships. Historians have shown that in the past there was a variety of family structures within a range of varying demographic, economic and cultural frameworks, distinctive for each society. At the same time, the interaction between sociology and social anthropology has led to a clearer conceptual analysis of that vague, polysemic term 'family'; and notions of dwelling-place, descent, marriage, the relative roles of husband and wife and parent-child relations, as well as the more general relations between generations, have in a variety of past and present social contexts been taken apart and analysed. In this book, the author synthesises European and North American historical and social anthropological material on the family that shows the reversal of the frequently held view of the family as an institution in decline, showing it instead to be both dynamic and resistant.
What is religion? Can it be defined at all? Or is it too easily defined in far too many ways so as to make a "religion" a drifting signifier or whatever one's pleasure is? Does the study of religion require special, perhaps religious, tools of analysis and explanation? What is the difference between a knowledge of religion derived from practicing it and a knowledge about religion derived from nonreligious modes of inquiry? Sooner or later, any serious student of religion must face these questionsif religious practices are to be investigated in the light of the terms and aims of the social and human sciences in the modern university."The Guide to the Study of Religion" provides a map of the key concepts and thought-structures for imagining and studying religion as a class of everyday social practices that lend themselves to no more or less difficult explanation than any other class of social phenomena.

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