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Gastro-Politics in Hindu South Asia

Arjun Appadurai
American Ethnologist
Vol. 8, No. 3, Symbolism and Cognition (Aug., 1981), pp. 494-511
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/644298
Page Count: 18
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Gastro-Politics in Hindu South Asia
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Abstract

The general semiotic properties of food take particularly intense forms in the context of gastro-politics--where food is the medium, and sometimes the message, of conflict. In South Asia, where beliefs about food encode a complex set of social and moral propositions, food serves two diametrically opposed semiotic functions: it can either homogenize the actors who transact in it, or it can serve to heterogenize them. In the Tamil Brahmin community of South India, this underlying tension takes three particular forms in the arenas of the household, the marriage feast, and the temple. [food, symbolism, semiotics, politics, South India]

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