Eating in Theory
Published by: Duke University Press Books
232 pages, 152.00 x 229.00 mm
- ISBN: 9781478011415
- Published: April 2021
As we taste, chew, swallow, digest, and excrete, our foods transform us, while our eating, in its turn, affects the wider earthly environment. In Eating in Theory Annemarie Mol takes inspiration from these transformative entanglements to rethink what it is to be human. Drawing on fieldwork at food conferences, research labs, health care facilities, restaurants and her own kitchen table, Mol reassesses the work of authors like Hannah Arendt, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Hans Jonas and Emmanuel Levinas. They celebrated the allegedly unique capability of humans to rise above their immediate bodily needs. Mol, by contrast, appreciates that as humans we share our fleshy substance with other living beings, whom we cultivate, cut into pieces, transport, prepare and incorporate—and to whom we leave our excesses. This has far reaching philosophical consequences. Taking human eating seriously suggests a reappraisal of being as transformative, knowing as entangling, doing as dispersed, and relating as a matter of inescapable dependence.
“Its writing limpid, its organization elegant, its argument scintillating, this book is inspirational. And radical. Annemarie Mol effectively unseats the mindset that cannot see past people as thinking and embodied beings. While her address is to questions as they are posed in philosophy, it will find huge sympathy among those dealing with anthropological materials of all kinds and stages a striking provocation for the general reader who asks whether scholarship can tell us anything new.”~Marilyn Strathern, author of, Relations: An Anthropological Account