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Food in utopia : eating our way to perfection

This work asks what part food has played in the formation, daily life and success (or failure) of utopian communities, andconsiders why food is significant to utopian ideas. In this connection it primarily considers three things: the ways in which food and gastronomy have figured in utopian thinking to express or attempt to realise better ways of living; the extent to which utopian ideas about food have become mainstream, and in what ways; and why some aspects of utopian thinking on the subject have been adopted and others not. The approach is interdisciplinary, and although the thesis is built on detailed textual analysis of primary sources, it also draws on the methodologies of literature, history, sociology and cultural anthropology to provide a more complete picture of the food-­‐related theories and experiences of selected utopias in Europe and North America between the mid-­‐seventeenth and twenty-­‐first centuries. Moreover, the discussion engages with the theoretical proposals of utopian thinkers as they relate to eating, dietary choices, agriculture, production and food supply, assessing the every-­‐ day experience of people executing these ideas inside utopian communities. The thesis places examples into their historical context with an eye to contemporaneous mainstream ideas concerning food and gastronomy, paying particular attention to their mutual influences, conflicts and points of differentiation. Often dismissed as fictional fantasies, utopian ideas are frequently condemned as unrealistic, impossible or the work of fanatics. While notions of utopia may lie on the borderline between the possible and the impossible, the factual and the fictional, a review of a critical everyday component—food—makes it possible to take a fresh look at this conceptual “no place”. By providing alternative perspectives on the origins of many of our current preoccupations with food-­‐related questions, new ways of thinking about both utopia and our attitudes to food emerge.
CreatorsLevi, Jane Elizabeth
ContributorsWright, Patrick Stephen
PublisherKing's College London (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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