Accepted Paper:

Narrating the Taste: Story and Wine in China’s Southwest  

Author:

Xiangchun Zheng (Yunnan Minzu University)

Paper Short Abstract:

This study attempts to uncover the association between taste and story of the wine that has defined the character and meaning of certain place. Here, storytelling can serve to delimit the distinctive taste of a particular place; in turn, this special taste will help determine the value, identity and renown that defines said area. This interaction which I explore I term ‘narrating the taste.’ It dynamically contributes to the development of the certain place as a result of political, economic and cultural agency. More specifically, I also attempt to uncover how this interrelationship serves commerce and tourism by placing it firmly within contemporary Chinese context.

Paper long abstract:

The taste of food, although primarily associated with flavors as experienced through physical processes, appears to also be strongly influenced by symbolic meaning and social function. Indeed, over the past two decades anthropologists and sociologists have begun paying greater attention to the social and cultural aspects of the taste of food; their studies link taste initiation with memory, emotion, gender roles, cooking practices, social class, gastro-politics, as well as embodiment and commodity. This study, which presents the findings of fieldwork into wine production in China’s southwest province of Yunnan, attempts to uncover the association between taste and story that has defined the character and meaning of the region’s wine. Here, storytelling can serve to delimit the distinctive taste of a particular place; in turn, this special taste will help determine the value, identity and renown that defines said area. This interaction which I explore I term ‘narrating the taste.’ It’s a dynamic that encompasses not only the particular things within a specific place, but that which contributes to the development of the place as a result of political, economic and cultural agency. Based on this interaction of narrative and taste I try to overcome divisions between linguistic meaning and the embodiment of practice. More specifically, I also attempt to uncover how this interrelationship serves commerce and tourism by placing it firmly within contemporary Chinese context.

Key words: narrative, taste, wine

Panel P086
Wine mobilities: tensions in crafting wine stories [Roundtable]