Anthropology Reading Journal Series II

Anthropology Reading Journal Series II 
IX. Monday, November 7: Food, Culture, and Power I

The second half of our semester was spent reading about Food, Culture and Power and the roles they play in ethnographic research. These readings nicely led us into understanding wider themes presented on globalization and understanding the concept of flow – which were the next set of papers discussed in this journal series.

Reading #1: Allison, Anne. “Japanese Mothers and Obentos: The Lunch Box as Ideological State Apparatus” Anthro Qrtly 64(4): 195-208.

Allison’s paper, Japanese Mothers and Obentos: The Lunch Box as Ideological State Apparatus, introduces the obento – a lunch box that is prepared by Japanese mothers. She argues that the creation of obentos creates ideological and gendered meanings that reflect the culture and values of both the mother and child. Allison claims that, “the food is coded as a cultural and aesthetic apparatus in Japan,” framing her argument along the lines of anthropologist Althusser’s concept of Ideological state apparatus (1971).

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Anthropology Reading Journal Series II

Anthropology Reading Journal Series II 
XI. Monday, November 21: Methods and Concepts of a Global Ethnography I

This second set of readings surrounds the theme of globalization and offers a foundation in understanding the two books which we’ve reviewed concerning commodities and multi-sited ethnographic research.

Reading #1: Appadurai, Arjun. Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy

In Arjun Appadura’s paper, Disjuncture and Difference in the Global Cultural Economy, he emphasizes analyzing global cultural flows through what he calls scapes. Adhering partly to mediologist Marshall Mcluhan’s idea of a “global village”, in which people live in a world that is disassociated from any real physical place and are inundated by a variety of media and technology, Appadurai proposes that the complexity of our global economy can best be navigated through a framework of scapes. They are (1) ethnoscapes, (2) technoscapes, (3) mediascapes, (4) financescapes, and (5) ideoscapes, which serve to clarify the different ways in which our society has become global.

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