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Eating TogetherFood, Friendship, and Inequality$
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Alice P. Julier

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037634

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037634.001.0001

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From Formality to Comfort

From Formality to Comfort

The Discourse of Meals and Manners

(p.22) 2. From Formality to Comfort
Eating Together

Alice P. Julier

University of Illinois Press

This chapter explores how people's definitions of hospitality—and consequently their social meals—reflect cultural discourses about sociability. It first describes interviews of people about how they learned to cook, where they developed their ideas about parties, and what these events might have looked like in their families of origin. It asks people how they would define “hospitality”—how their definition was similar or different from that of other people or from the kind of sociable activities that went on in their families of origin. It then turns turn to textual sources from which such ideas develop. Concerns about how people construct their social lives emerge in debates about propriety, etiquette, formality, intimacy, comfort, style, and display. Such debates are never trivial, but rather illustrate how struggles for control over symbol and meaning are the real sites of conflict in contemporary society.

Keywords:   hospitality, social meals, sociability, social life, etiquette

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