Feasting, drinking and banqueting – University of Copenhagen

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ADI Conference 2018 > Panels > Feasting, drinking and...

10th Annual International ADI Conference
Asian Dynamics Initiative, University of Copenhagen
18-20 June 2018    


Feasting, drinking and banqueting: Politics and sociality of relating in Eurasia

Conveners: Edyta Roszko, Dept. of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies and Oscar Salemink, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen 

Anyone who has lived, worked, or done long-term research in Eurasia – specifically East, Southeast Asia and Central Asia, including the former Soviet territories – has experience with specific eating and drinking practices that initiate or cement relations at various moments in the relationship. Such occasions punctuated by mutual and socially mandated eating and drinking practices often take the form of feasting and banqueting in restaurants, but they might also take place in other public and semi-public venues, like bars, karaoke bars and nightclubs. Such socially mandated eating and drinking occasions – which we gloss here as feasts and banquets – may occur at different moments in the formation of a social relationship. Feasts and banquets are used as a forum for testing the waters when establishing a relationship. Feasts and banquets are important for breaking the ice in political and economic deals, but they punctuate the moment for celebrating the successful conclusion of political and economic deals (.e. not necessarily a successful outcome of a deal). Researchers will recognize the requirement for participating in or even organizing feasts and banquets as a requirement for accessing the research field (informants, gate keepers) – a methodological device that anthropologist Magnus Fiskesjö dubbed “participatory intoxication.”

In China, Vietnam and the wider Sinitic world (including Chinese diasporas), such forms of relating marked by  reciprocal (but hierarchical) exchange of material gifts – in this case of food and drink – and their common consumption has commonly been analyzed in terms of guanxi  [Chinese] and quan hê [Vietnamese]. Within and beyond that  cultural sphere, the work-related feasts and banquets in Eurasia may be analyzed as ritual event marking the transition from one stage to another in the emergent relationship, much like the feasts and banquets marking life cycle rituals such as weddings and funerals. Such ritual events create a liminal experience of communitas that, according to Victor Turner, generates the license, camaraderie and trust that formal business, political and research relations cannot forge. Unsurprisingly, feasts and banquets foster gendered (and often sexualized or sexualizing) experiences as well, seemingly licensed by copious amounts of food and – in non-Muslim environments – alcohol. We invite papers that address any of the issues described above within Eurasia (i.c. Asia and the post-socialist world) in both a playful and serious manner. We hope to make this a fun panel, but also hope for contributions that could potentially be turned into a joint publication. 

Please submit your abstract to Marie Yoshida (marie.yoshida@nias.ku.dk)
1 March 2018.

Please include in your submission:

  • Name, institutional affiliation, short bio
  • Abstract that clearly lays out the title, argument and methodology (approx 250 words)
  • Intended panel  

Conveners and organizing committee will assess the submitted abstracts and inform you of the decision soon hereafter.