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Graf, Katharina and Mescoli, Elsa (2020) 'Special issue introduction: from nature to culture? Lévi-Strauss legacy and the study of contemporary foodways.' Food, Culture and Society, 23 (4). pp. 465-471.

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This introduction and special issue explores the legacy of Claude Lévi-Strauss for the study of contemporary foodways. We revisit Lévi-Strauss’ structural writing about food through different angles. To begin with, based on our ethnographic research with Moroccan cooks, we propose to consider some basic elements of food culture as an “alphabet,” as a shared language and, more generally, as a formally structured and normalized set of practices. Then, the first research article of this special issue proposes to use Lévi-Strauss’ model of myths in a novel way, by bringing culinary and social practices in Western Kenya into relation through the concept of mereological ambivalence. In the second and third articles, Lévi-Strauss’ so-called culinary triangle, which represents a semantic field within which the various forms of food’s transformation are structurally meaningful and constitutes possibly his most well-known theoretical contribution to food studies, will be explored and questioned through contemporary practices of dumpster diving in London and the discourse among raw food eaters in France and the United States. Overall, this special issue hopes to demonstrate that despite valid and enduring critique of his semantic models, Lévi-Strauss’ theoretical engagement with food can still generate an exciting and fruitful analysis of contemporary foodways.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Lévi-Strauss, food preparation, cuisine, Morocco, Italy
SOAS Departments & Centres: School Research Centres > SOAS Food Studies Centre
Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISSN: 15528014
Copyright Statement: © 2020 Association for the Study of Food and Society This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Food, Culture & Society on 9 Jul 2020, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2020 09:00
Funders: Other

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