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Compare TWO different approaches to the study of food, and discuss what you find attractive or unhelpful about them - Essay Example

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Structuralism & Post-Structuralism An Anthropological Analysis of Food Submitted to: [Pick the date] Structuralism and post-structuralism are the anthropological approaches that help in understanding cultural behaviours and their relevance in a universal frame of reference…
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Compare TWO different approaches to the study of food, and discuss what you find attractive or unhelpful about them
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Compare TWO different approaches to the study of food, and discuss what you find attractive or unhelpful about them

Download file to see previous pages... Furthermore, an underlying framework cannot remain constant since it is susceptible of transformation under external stimuli. Both structuralism and post-structuralism tend to provide a theoretical framework that can help in understanding how cultures are affected by their food and cooking practices but post-structuralism provides a relatively flexible approach that accepts human influence and effects of historic events on culture. In order to understand the nature and behaviour of food with the help of structuralism, it is important to analyze the framework of this approach. Structuralism is an inspired phenomena hailing from Gestalt psychology. Gestalt’s theory attempts to find out a rationale ground of how human mind works and derives patterns out of random or unobvious events. This approach further explains that events, individuals or objects having same attributes tend to form an alliance and stay together. Similarly, structuralism is an approach through which human behaviour can be analyzed with the help of different frame of references networked together. This network of relationships helps in identifying the actual position of a norm, ritual or an object in human life. Through this framework, early linguists and anthropologists tend to identify the signs showing common indications. Therefore, structuralism became synonymous with semiology. These semiotics or doctrines of semiology helped the literary thinkers to deduct common patterns from folk tales that helped in understanding relations of cultures to each other and their further evolution along with rationales of various norms and traditions. Although this approach was a result of literary research performed by Ferdinand de Saussure and Vladimir Propp however it was given a broader definition in 1960s by Claude Levi-Strauss. Levi-Strauss used this approach to analyze human patterns of kinship and myths. This research was further extended by various others such as Mary Douglas. Levi-Strauss performed his further research to identify the reasons for existence of similar myths present in different cultures. He explained that no myth has a value in its singular form and in order to have a meaning; it is supposed to have a certain place in myth’s network or structure. Hence, myths exists universally and they are source of resolutions to social conflicts. Along with myths, rituals and traditions, food and activities related to it play a vital role in understanding relationships existing between cultures. Levi-Strauss (1966, 1970) helped in identifying common patterns among different cultures and segregated the manner of culinary art of cooking in three fundamental categories i.e. boiling, roasting and steaming. These fundamental cooking principles indicated that through norms and methods adopted by a group of people, a meaning is produced in a culture which is reproduced and evolved through other peripheral practices. Activities as diverse as food preparations and existence of millions of recipes concluded that there were some common factors underlying in these cultures and they indicated a particular pattern of kinship that is known to different groups and individuals existing in a society, operating at unconscious level ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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