Socio-sonic poetics of food
Aylin Yildirim Tschoepe
(University of Basel/HGK FHNW)
Paper short abstract:
Through sonic ethnography among diverse individuals and food practices in urban spaces, I address sensorial aspects of community-making and ritualized behavior. Thicker description and sense of "being there" are possible through sensory ethnography and interdisciplinary methodological explorations.
Paper long abstract:
Food sounds can open up whole universes of meaning. I offer different experiences that can be individually interpreted: in solitary space, food sounds can be contextualized with memories of taste and smell, of events and places. In communal space, more often than not, conversations about and over food gain more importance than food itself, the respective sounds reflect social intercourse, everyday rhythms and societal norms and rituals. In different locations in Massachusetts (daycares, cafés, restaurant and kitchen), I have observed meal preparation and sharing of meals. I have interpreted food in a temporal and spatial sequence, from young age to adulthood, from breakfast to dinner, transitioning in and out of urban food places, and offer a senseable difference between communal and solitary space in context with food. I was especially drawn to younger groups, among whom the joy of hearing oneself eat, the sensation of new tastes, bonding and rituals over food takes place at a more conscious level than it does for adults. Through sonic ethnography (audio clips) among various age groups (from toddlers to adults) of culturally diverse individuals and their food practices in different spaces of the city, I address the question of sensorial aspects of community-making, bonding, ritualized behavior and expression over shared meals and food preparation. I propose that a thicker description and an enhanced sense of "being there" are possible through sensory ethnography and interdisciplinary methodological explorations that capture and convey an experience of such practices and spaces.
Tracking changes in the city through food and the senses [P+W]