'Is It Real Food?' Who Benefits from Globalisation in Tanzania and India?

Caplan, Pat. 2006. 'Is It Real Food?' Who Benefits from Globalisation in Tanzania and India? Sociological Research Online, 11(4), [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Almost twenty years ago, the French anthropologist Claude Fischler wrote: 'To identify a food, one has to "think" it, to understand its place in the world and therefore understand the world.' For several decades I have been carrying out research among peasant cultivators on the East African coast (since 1965) and among the middle classes in Chennai (formerly Madras), South India (since 1974). During those periods, there have been marked changes in food consumption patterns in both areas. Recent research on local views of modernities in Tanzania suggests that food is an important way for people to conceptualise some of the dis-orders which have arisen as a result of current neo-liberal policies. In Chennai, on the other hand, my most recent research suggests that the consumption of 'modern' food is welcomed by the middle classes, especially by younger people, as being associated with global cosmopolitanism. In both areas, however, as might be expected, much depends on context and positionality and thus multiple and sometimes competing voices can be heard. In this paper, I examine local responses to changing food consumption patterns in order to understand local knowledge of food and the world.

Item Type:



Food, Globalization, Modernities, Tanzania, India, Order and Disorder

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



December 2006Published

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Date Deposited:

16 May 2016 15:13

Last Modified:

16 Jun 2017 10:59

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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