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Table TalkBuilding Democracy One Meal at a Time$
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Janet A. Flammang

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040290

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040290.001.0001

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Setting the Table

Setting the Table

(p.7) Chapter One Setting the Table
Table Talk

Janet A. Flammang

University of Illinois Press

This chapter considers how academic table studies can be combined with people's table stories. It begins with a discussion of “table reservations” and some words of caution about how to interpret what goes on at family meals. It then explores the difficulties and limitations of table studies and proceeds by describing family table talk as language socialization and as hard work. It also cites the in-depth studies of Marjorie DeVault and Shoshana Blum-Kulka that focus on conversation work and dynamics in sixty-four households during the 1980s, providing many useful concepts for understanding civility at the table. Finally, it examines what we know about table conversations and mealtimes for overworked Americans and takes a close look at common tables, stories, and food.

Keywords:   table studies, table stories, table reservations, family meals, table talk, language socialization, hard work, table conversations, overworked Americans, food

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