Accepted Paper:

A Sensual Delight in Eating: Exploring the Aesthetics, Ethics and Politics of Culinary Tourism in Assam   


Mini Bhattacharyya Thakur (Gauhati University)

Paper short abstract:

Food and cuisine are important ingredients of a society's cultural heritage and a valuable identity marker. Culinary tourism, which is a recent phenomenon in Assam has promoted a sense of unity among the diverse ethnic people of Assam leading to a transition of Assamese culinary ethics and values.

Paper long abstract:

An outcome of the political and social effort by the government, mass media and tourism industry is culinary tourism which has emerged as an important phenomenon in Assam. Food and cuisine are important ingredients of a society's cultural heritage and valuable identity markers. Traditional food and snacks have got a new lease of life through the promotion of food consumption culture among foreign and domestic tourist leading to a boost to ethnic and rural tourism and the growth of economy. Portraying Assam and the north eastern region as unique in terms of its ethnic diversity and a dietary culture, is a conscious effort to position the regional unity in the face of its past colonial experience of disjointed identities. In addition, socio-cultural transition of the Assamese culture, its changing ethical and culinary values are perceptible in the changing paradigm of globalization. Assamese food or any ethnic food per se cannot be understood as simply an array of food but involves complexities and rules of social conduct and ethics.This paper discusses the emergence of a culinary culture in Assam and the changing image of Assamese food and identity in the face of a tourism culture.

Panel P10
Consuming culture: the politics and aesthetics of cultural tourism in different national traditions