This important book offers a model to analyze the configurations of reality as manifested in everyday practices of eating and drinking in relation to the development of human subjectivity. The author uses concrete examples from daily life related to eating and drinking habits such as "eating tacos" or "taking a shot of mezcal", to offer an interface of interaction between body/mind and material entities connecting all scales of reality.
Borrowing scientific insights from molecular biology and neuroscience, combined with a touch of decolonial spirit, the author examines specific 'processes' and/or 'objects' triggered by eating and drinking events, such as the production of heat as you eat a taco, or the interchange of knowledge while drinking mezcal. The book develops an approach to human subjectivity informed by material and aesthetic encounters beyond the analysis of language, representation, and social structures and aims to contribute to the contemporary landscape of efforts decentering our understanding of both human and non-human affairs.
With its multidimensional exploration of our relationship with food, this is thought-provoking reading for scholars and students in critical psychology, philosophy, and the social sciences.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Digesting Reality Ch. 1: Tacos & Heat Ch. 2: Veganism & Politics Ch. 3: Chocolate & Desire Ch. 4: Wine & Time Ch. 5: Mezcal & Knowledge Conclusion: Towards a multi-layered theory of subjectivity
Ali Lara received his PhD in social psychology from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and was previously postdoctoral fellow at the City University of New York. He currently works as a lecturer in psychology at the University of East London. His research interests revolve around speculative philosophy-based theories such as affect and Object Oriented Ontology, social studies of the body and the senses, and decolonial theory.
"Ali Lara's Digesting Reality brilliantly and wisely returns human activities, such as eating and drinking, to the theoretical landscape focused on the other-than-human. Using a surprisingly fresh, multilayered, analytic approach to process and objects applied in fascinating case studies, Digesting Reality is a delicious read." – Professor Patricia Ticineto Clough, PhD, LP
"Ali Lara’s Digesting Reality capaciously explores the complex political ecologies of bodies-in-relations far from equilibrium. His analyses of multiscalar processes affecting objects, subjects, and ecologies draws on cutting edge work in neuroscience, social psychology, and critical theory to question and move beyond the habits of thoughts tied to a Eurocentric anthropocene. His finely intercalated researches affirm in surprising and insightful ways the 'pre-individual knowing' so crucial today in the ongoing renewal of the project of decolonizing affect. We will all need to be reading him in the years to come!" – Amit S. Rai, author of Untimely Bollywood and Jugaad Time
"Here’s a whole new methodological recipe for doing food studies in the 21st century! Ali Lara shows, chapter by chapter, how to fold multiple theory ingredients together – process philosophy, object-oriented ontology, affect studies, speculative realism, new materialism, actor network theory, and more – and, then, serve them up through a set of very substantive and tasty case studies: tacos, chocolate, wine, mezcal, living as a vegan. Your everyday practices of eating and drinking will never quite feel the same after digesting the contents this truly groundbreaking work." – Dr. Gregory J. Seigworth, co-editor of The Affect Theory Reader and co-editor of Capacious: Journal for Emerging Affect Inquiry