Vernacular Taste and Urban Transformation: Towards an Analytics of Fun and a New Kind of Critique

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Abstract

The pleasure of street food provides an opening into the politics and poetics of vernacular taste. Mazaa in cheap viands such as chaat, kebabs and vada pao has the potential to decolonise the palatal and philosophical expectations of gastronomy that are dominant today. Viewed from the bottom up, much street food is a study of mazaa and poor people’s livelihoods in a matrix of cross-class interests. This paper takes the case of popular food cultures—based on a large multi-city collaborative project—to explore questions of liveliness of cities and epistemologies of fun. What are the best ways to register a bottom-up, sensuous materiality and sociability in theory without falling into the gourmand’s trap of pure apolitical pleasure?.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-318
Number of pages11
JournalSouth Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies
Volume43
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 3 2020

Keywords

  • Fun
  • material culture
  • mazaa
  • migration
  • ordinary aesthetics
  • sociology
  • street food
  • taste
  • vending

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

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