Eating Politics: Gastro-Diplomacy and Sensory Encounters

Monday, 11 July 2016: 11:05
Location: Seminar 33 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Kelvin LOW, Sociology, National University of Singapore, Singapore
While scholarly attention on food and the senses have been on the rise in the last few decades, an area of inquiry pertaining to the political life of sensation and foodways remains fairly nascent in extant debates. This paper focuses on how foodways and the realm of politics, both within and between nations, play out in everyday encounters of culinary experiences and political behaviour. It engages with the sensuous features of food consumption by politicians that come to bear on inter-national identities as well as local politics, thereby illustrating the pertinent role that food plays in political-social encounters. Examples will be drawn both from instances of gastro-diplomacy (Rockower 2012) where leaders from different nations consume local fare, as well as the recent Singapore General Elections 2015 where particular dishes have been singled out during the political rally period. The discussion will then be geared towards developing a political life of sensation (cf. Howes & Classen 2014; Panagia 2009).