Globalization,
Food and Social Identities in the Asia Pacific Region

Papers presented at the symposium, “Globalization, Food, and Social Identities in the Pacific Region,”
Feb. 21-22, 2009, Sophia University, Tokyo

Editor: James Farrer
Sophia University Institute of Comparative Culture, Tokyo, Japan

Contents

Introduction: Food Studies and Global Studies
in the Asia Pacific James Farrer

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The papers in this online collection are the outcome of the symposium on "Globalization, food and social identities in the Pacific region" held at Sophia University on Feb. 21-22, 2009. Although the globalization of food production and consumption is a phenomenon as old as agriculture itself, the increased speed and scale of transnational flows of food products, foodways and food producers has resulted in a greater interaction among cultures and increased cross-border dependencies for supplies.

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Part I: The transnational lives of food products in the Asia-Pacific
The Social Life of American Crayfish in Asia Sidney C. H. Cheung

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Abstract

Recent anthropological studies on foodways have highlighted the globalization of local foodways as well as the localization of foreign foodways in various countries, reminding us that foodways are simultaneously local and global in terms of production, manufacturing, and marketing.

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Bio

Sidney C. H. CheungCheung, Sidney C. H. is Professor and Chairperson, Department of Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include visual anthropology, anthropology of tourism, heritage studies, indigenous cultures, food and identity.

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On the Origins, Diffusion and Cultural Context of Fermented Fish Products in Southeast Asia Kenneth Ruddle and Naomichi Ishige

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Abstract

A basic reconstruction is made of the origin and diffusion of fermented fish products in East Asia by combining information on the history of human migrations, cultural borrowing and ethno-linguistics.

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Bio

Kenneth RuddleKenneth Ruddle received a B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Manchester, in 1964, and a PhD from the University of California, in 1970. At present he is a Professor in the School of Policy Studies of Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan.

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Naomichi Ishige: Director-General of National Museum of Ethnology from 1997-2003, Professor Ishige Naomichi is a cultural anthropologist specialized in food culture. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in Oceania, Africa and Southeast and Northeast Asia.

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Problems on Sea Cucumber Conservation Jun Akamine

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Abstract

The global market for dried sea cucumber expanded in the late 1980s and this has created serious problems worldwide. One notorious example comes from the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador, which is known as “sea cucumber war.”

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Bio

Akamine Jun is Associate Professor at School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Nagoya City University and has been engaging in research on "sea cucumber foodways" more than a decade.

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From National Symbol to Economic Goods: A Brief History of Maize Consumption in Post-revolutionary Mexico Hiroyuki Tani

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Abstract

Maize has long been the main basic food in Mexico, especially among the peasants and poorer segments of urban dwellers. The Mexican Revolution, which partially was an upheaval of peasants and rural workers seeking land to exploit, and the successive governments which followed it, raised the peasants as the key actors in the post-Revolutionary society.

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Bio

Hiroyuki TaniTani Hiroyuki is Professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies of Sophia University specializing in studies of the Latin American economy.  His current research interests include Mexican agriculture under the trade liberalization process, focusing on fresh vegetable exports (especially of tomatoes) and recent policy changes on maize production and distribution.

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“Here’s Looking at You”:
Re-imaging Saké Locally and Globally Patricia Yarrow

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Abstract

This study examines the relationship between local and global identities associated with Japanese saké as reconfigured in the processes of globalization. Methodology includes visual analysis of saké labels and websites as touchstones to the renewal of cultural identity.

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Bio

Paatricia YarrowPatricia Yarrow has enthusiastically lived in Japan on and off for over ten years, largely in Tokyo. She currently inhabits Ryogoku. Her areas of research careen between exploring the world of saké, including the business and the brewers, the qualities of “shitamachi” old-fashioned living, and “Engrish”, the weirdly misapplied English found in Japan on written surfaces.

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Part II: Cuisines, social identities and culinary politics
A Taste for Ethnic Difference: American Gustatory Imagination in a Globalizing World Krishnendu Ray

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Abstract

Ethnic, foreign, soul, etc. are a few ways in which American journalists writing on food have tried to capture difference within the national imaginary. These categories often have divergent connotation of difference from a presumed mainstream.

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Bio

Krishnendu RayKrishnendu Ray is the author of The Migrant’s Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-American Households (Temple University Press, 2004).  He has taught for a decade at the Culinary Institute of America.

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Food Action Nippon and Slow Food Japan: The Role of Two Citizen Movements in the Rediscovery of Local Foodways Stephanie Assmann

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Abstract

This paper looks at two citizen movements in Japan that address the country's low self-sufficiency rate of merely 40% and the issue of food safety. Recently, a series of food scandals that also involved imported food products has alarmed Japan, such as the incident of Chinese dumplings that were tainted with pesticides (gyôza jiken) at the beginning of 2008.

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Bio

Stephanie AssmannStephanie Assmann is associate professor for Comparative Culture and German Language at Akita University, Japan. She holds a PhD in Japanese Studies from the University of Hamburg, Germany.

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Eating the West and Beating the Rest: Culinary Occidentalism and Urban Soft Power in Asia’s Global Food Cities James Farrer

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Abstract

A new global culinary geography of high cuisine has developed centered on global cities. This essay traces this development by focusing on the interaction between transnational flows of people and resources and local cultural politics in two of Asia’s global cities, Shanghai and Tokyo. Although investments and increased wealth create the conditions for development of international restaurant scenes in cities, the advent of a cosmopolitan and lively urban food culture is not an inevitable outcome of economic globalization.

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Bio

James FarrerJames Farrer is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and the Director of the Institute of Comparative Culture at Sophia University. His research has involved qualitative and ethnographic studies of youth sexuality, sexual politics, intercultural marriage, nightlife, urban spaces, expatriate subcultures, and now foodways.

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Malaysian Cuisine:
A Case of Neglected Culinary Globalization Kosaku Yoshino

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Abstract

Malaysian cuisine represents a culinary diversity originating from Malaysia’s multiethnic society: Malay, Chinese, Indian, Nyonya, Eurasian, and so on. There are many Malaysian favourites such as nasi lemak, beef rendang, bak but teh, char kway teow, curry laksa, roti canai, nasi goreng, nasi dagang, and so forth.

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Bio

Kosaku YoshinoKosaku Yoshino is Professor of Sociology at Sophia University. His areas of specialization are nationalism and globalization in Japan and Southeast Asia. His best-known books include Cultural Nationalism in Contemporary Japan (Routledge) and Consuming Ethnicity and Nationalism: Asian Experiences (editor) (Curzon Press).

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Culinary Nostalgia and Chinese Neo-Liberalism:
Local Dish Restaurants in Shanxi Province David Wank

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Abstract

In the mid-1990s a local dish 地方菜 boom emerged in China’s restaurant industry. Restaurants ranging from family-style to luxury establishments started serving local dishes that are self-consciously represented as the foods eaten by the common people of a specific locale in China. Their menus feature coarse grains and wild greens while their décor evokes the culture and history of a locale.

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Bio

David WankDavid Wank is Professor of Sociology, Sophia University, Tokyo. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University (1993). His research on numerous topics in China combines theoretical concerns of economic and political sociology with ethnographic field methodology.

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Como agua para chocolate as a Food Film: Food, Family Ties and Emotion Mauro Neves

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Abstract

This research explores in which aspects Como agua para chocolate (Alfonso Arau, 1992) can be seen as a food film, and in which aspects the film surpasses this definition. Being the first Mexican film centered on Mexican food it prompted a reinterpretation on the relation between food, family ties and gender in Mexico.

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Bio

Mauro NevesMauro Neves is a professor at the Luso-Brazilian Studies Department at Sophia University in Tokyo. He holds a M.A. in Japanese History from the Buddhist University in Kyoto.

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The Development of an Indonesian National Cuisine:
A Study of New Movement of Instant Foods
and Local Cuisine Michiko Kubo

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Abstract

Consisting of 17,000 islands Indonesia has more than 400 ethnic groups. The image of “Indonesian cuisine” is diverse, depending on where it is discussed or on what kind of food. The term “Indonesian cuisine” is not familiar to the Indonesian people and is rarely used among them.

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Bio

Michiko KuboKubo Michiko graduated from the MA course in Asian Studies at Sophia University. She worked for 10 years at a school offering classes in Southeast Asian languages, cooking and dancing. She supported the lecturers as an assistant, was involved in planning for the cooking courses, devised the recipes and took charge of food shopping.

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Part III: Food producers as cultural creators and globalizing agents
Cooking Logics:
Cognition and Reflexivity in the Culinary Field Vanina Leschziner

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Abstract

This paper draws on ethnographic research with elite chefs in New York City and San Francisco to present an analysis of the socio-cognitive and organizational foundations of culinary creation. I examine the cognitive schema upon which chefs rely in creating dishes and seeking legitimation, and the organizational factors that constrain them in their choices.

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Bio

Vanina Leschziner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her primary research interests are in the sociology of culture, culture and cognition, organizations, theory, and qualitative methods./p>

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Four Dances of the Sea:
Cooking “Asian” as Embedded Cosmopolitanism Jean Duruz

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Abstract

This paper recalls (imperfectly, I suspect) a comment from the British television cooking series, Two Fat Ladies. “Add some chilli to the fish,” says one Fat Lady to the other, “That’s very Australian.” This begs the question: how did the taste of chilli become “very Australian”?

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Bio

Jean DuruzJean Duruz is a Senior Lecturer in cultural studies in the School of Communication, International Studies and Languages at the University of South Australia. She has an MA in Cultural Studies from the University of Birmingham and her PhD is from the Flinders University of South Australia.

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Food Workers as Individual Agents of Culinary Globalization:
Pizza and Pizzaioli in Japan Rossella Ceccarini

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Abstract

According to the Italian restaurant guide of Japan, published in 2006 by the Italian Trade Commission, there are 3974 restaurants serving Italian cuisine, or at least dishes inspired by Italian cuisine, all over the Japanese archipelago. Pizza is among the most popular dishes.

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Bio

Rosselia CeccariniRossella Ceccarini joined Sophia University's Global Studies PhD program in 2006. Her present research focuses on the reception of Italian food in Japan.

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Nobu and After:
Westernized Japanese Food and Globalization Shoko Imai

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Abstract

In my paper, focusing on the case of Japanese Chef Matsuhisa Nobuyuki (Nobu), I outline the cultural and social impacts of the worldwide popularity of Japanese food in contemporary society. In analyzing the whole phenomenon of Nobu, world city theory as proposed by geographers seems effective and insightful.

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Bio

Imai Shoko is a graduate student in Area Studies Department of Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at University of Tokyo. Currently she is working on her PhD thesis about the popularity of Japanese food in the world and globalization.

Acknowledgement

As editor of this collection, I would like to acknowledge the contributions of the Secretary of the Institute of Comparative Culture Ms. Miwa Higashiura, without whose efforts this conference and the resulting collection would never have been possible. I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of the designer, Ms. Mie Shimizu, copyediting by Prof. Bruce Hird, and also the editorial assistance of Dr. N. Frances Hioki. We would also like to thank anonymous reviewers for each paper.

This is a peer-reviewed online collection and each paper can be read alone or downloaded in any order. Paper abstracts and author biographies can be accessed by clicking on the links to the papers above.

Details about the Institute of Comparative Culture are available on our institute webpage.

 

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