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Performing Gastronomy: An Ecosophic Engagement with the Liveliness of Food


Performing Gastronomy: An Ecosophic Engagement with the Liveliness of Food

Szanto, David Andrew (2015) Performing Gastronomy: An Ecosophic Engagement with the Liveliness of Food. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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This dissertation is a contemporary reinterpretation of gastronomy, weaving together performance, systems theory, and material practice with the historic sense of the term, ‘the communication of food knowledge’. It proposes a transdisciplinary approach to food scholarship that figures food as lively, complex, and intersubjective, and which responds to the performative, self-transforming nature of food systems. The move towards performativity is motivated by Felix Guattari’s concept of ecosophy, a call for ecological-philosophical consciousness about the choices and actions we make in the world. Acts of thinking and doing with food have ethical and political implications; a performative approach addresses these complex articulations, while attending to questions of power, privilege, and authority. Experimental and exploratory research is described, which focuses on a number of food milieus, an expression that denotes hybrid spaces in which humans and food interact. As a whole, the work is aimed at answering the question What if? concerning the ways that we come to understand food milieus more broadly, in order to respond to the issues and potentials that food systems present. Through case-based interventions within three food milieus, a context and rationale for performative gastronomy is constructed. The first case treats the urban foodscape of boulevard St-Laurent (Montreal, Québec), a commercial area in the centre of the city that is characterized by both change and stability. The second involves the sensory art installation, Displace (Montreal; The Hague), in which taste and cooking are examined as occasions through which matter performs. A third case addresses the University of Gastronomic Sciences (Pollenzo, Italy), and involves an examination of pedagogy and reflection as a mode of research. The written dissertation acts in concert with an October 2014 ‘performative meal event’, which revisits key questions about the milieu of gastronomy. Together this work critically engages with discourse and practice in food studies, ecology, performance, autoethnography, and design, building towards long-term implications for ecosophic, food-related scholarship and praxis.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Szanto, David Andrew
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Individualized Program
Date:March 2015
Thesis Supervisor(s):Richman Kenneally, Rhona
Keywords:gastronomy, food, food systems, material agency, performance, performativity, ecology, ecosophy
ID Code:979821
Deposited By: DAVID SZANTO
Deposited On:16 Jul 2015 15:17
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:50
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