1st Edition

Food and Multiculture A Sensory Ethnography of East London

By Alex Rhys-Taylor Copyright 2017
    192 Pages
    by Routledge

    186 Pages
    by Routledge

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    In this book, Alex Rhys-Taylor offers a ground-breaking sensory ethnography of East London. Drawing on the multicultural context of London, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, he explores concepts such as gentrification, class antagonism, new ethnicities and globalization. Rhys-Taylor shows how London is characterized by its rich history of socioeconomic change and multiculture, exploring how its smells and food are integral to understanding both its history and the reality of London’s urban present. From the fiery chillies sold by street grocers which are linked to years of cultural exchange, through ‘cuisines of origin’ like jellied eels to hybridized dishes such as the chicken katsu wrap, sensory experiences are key to understanding the complex cultural genealogies of the city and its social life.Each of the eight chapters combines micro histories of ingredients such as fried chicken, bush-meat and curry sauce, featuring narratives from individuals that provide a unique, engaging account of the evolution of taste and culture through time and space.With its innovative methodology, this is a highly original contribution to the fields of sensory studies, food studies, urban studies and cultural studies.

    Acknowledgments1. Coming to Our Senses2. Heat of the Moment: Transcultural Sensations and Urban Multiculture3. Halal Katsu Wraps4. From Horses to Cane Rats: Meat, Moral Panics and Race5. The 'Fried Chicken Problem'6. Eels and Eastenders7. The Senses, the City and Social Formation8. Methodological AfterwordBibliographyIndex


    Alex Rhys-Taylor is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.

    "The real pleasure and importance of Food and Multiculture lies in its brilliantly evocative ethnographic descriptions of the smells and tastes of urban multiculturalism. Alex Rhys-Taylor conjures a world where the flavours and aromas of our city streets are always densely and compellingly social. It’s a great read. - Ben Highmore, University of Sussex, UK This book is dazzling in scope yet refreshingly intimate. Rich in ethnographic insights and scholarly nuances, it traces journeys of people and goods across the globe while evoking, viscerally, the tastes and smells of everyday London. - Jean Duruz, University of South Australia, Australia This is an interesting book that makes an important contribution to urban food studies by calling attention to the complex role of the senses in shaping relations within and across cultures and ethnic groups. - The Sense and Society"