gastro‐politics in Hindu South Asia

Arjun Appadurai

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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] 1981 American Anthropological Association

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-511
Number of pages18
JournalAmerican Ethnologist
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1981


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology

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