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And even within the most affluent societies,

though malnutrition as a consequence of poverty

has mostly disappeared, there remain significant

inequalities in access to diets of good-quality and

nutritious foodstuffs.

Food provision and preparation remains a key

activity of households even in the industrial and

post-industrial societies, because most eating

occurs within the home and requires much domestic

labor of shopping, preparation, cooking,

and cleaning. Most work of this kind is done

everywhere by women, part of the unequal division

of labor which defines gender inequalities.

Such work is integral to the reproduction and

maintenance of family relations and family life,

symbolizing belonging and care, and a source of

emotional attachment and conflict.

folk religion food


Eating is a fundamentally social activity; in general

people have not preferred, and do not prefer,

to eat alone. Households are defined for official

purposes as those who eat together, and in societies

where people live predominantly in elementary

or nuclear families, the family meal has

been seen as a central temporal and social organizing

principle of everyday life. The extent to

which it may be in decline has attracted much

attention. Meals away from home, in restaurants,

canteens, and other homes are also social events,

ones which increase with industrialization and

the growth of consumer services. The meal is a

major social institution. All social groups have

norms and conventions governing the social relations

of commensality, concerning who should

eat together and what foods are appropriate to

which gatherings. These norms are partly definitive

of relationships of intimate and distant

kinship, friendship, and interaction with strangers.

Norms of hospitality vary greatly between

societies, ethnic groups, and social classes.

What is considered fit and appropriate to eat

varies between cultures and many societies have

complex culinary conventions which comprise

cuisines to which nations, ethnic groups, and

social classes have strong symbolic attachments.

Also, more elaborate cuisines develop in places

with particular hierarchical types of social structure.

For example, the French royal court not

only ate differently from the peasantry but also

was central to the refinement of table manners

which Norbert Elias in The Civilizing Process (1939

[trans. 2000]) considered a key element of the

western civilizing process. Cuisine types are now

marketing devices for restaurants and cookery

books, and although isolating precisely the defining

characteristics of French, Persian, or Chinese

food may be difficult, national and regional

ways of selecting and preparing preferred ingredients

persist, and indeed are often increasingly

valued. The symbolic aspects of food have been

most powerfully analyzed by anthropologists,

but cultural sociology and sociology of consumption

has increasingly become involved. Food

preferences are made to reflect and indicate differences

in class distinction and aesthetic taste,

to express ethnic group membership, and also

personal identity.

Many eating events are now more informal than

before. As foods become more highly processed

and require less preparation – as with “fast food”

and convenience foods – greater opportunities

exist for people to adopt individualized habits

of consumption. Meals are now less regular,

uniform, and predictable. Also, it has become

harder to justify what to eat and perhaps more

necessary to do so in the face of unprecedented

variety. This has gone along with perhaps some

greater anxiety about food, symbolized, for

example, by epidemics of anorexia and obesity.

Anxieties are also apparent as a sense of risk

arising from the technologies of food processing –

additives, genetic modification, and so on. This

has had an impact through food scares and crises

of consumer trust which have in turn led to

renewed effort being devoted by political authorities

to legislation and regulation and restructuring

of the activities of market actors. These

are also increasingly prompted by social movements

promoting new types of diet, for instance

vegetarianism; new production standards as with

organic foods; and styles of eating, for example

the Slow Food Movement. People, either individually

or through consumer associations, often

with the collaboration of niche producers, attempt

to modify and regulate their food consumption

in accordance with their ethical and

political principles, their attitudes towards body

maintenance, and their aesthetic preferences.



– see post-Fordism.

formal organizations

– see bureaucracy.

Foucault, Michel (1926–1984)

Foucault was born in Poitiers, France, and died

at the age of fifty-seven from an AIDS-related illness.

He studied both psychology and philosophy

at the E´cole Normale Supe´rieure and went on to

teach psychology in a department of philosophy

while also working as a researcher in a hospital

in Paris. The latter posting provided the inspiration

for his first book, Mental Illness and Psychology

(1954 [trans. 1976]). Foucault continued this practice

of simultaneously teaching and holding practical

postings throughout his career, which

allowed him to write Madness and Insanity in the

Age of Reason (1961 [trans. 1965]), Birth of the Clinic:

An Archaeology of Medical Perception (1963 [trans.

1973]), Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison

(1975 [trans. 1977]), and the volumes that constituted

The History of Sexuality, such as The History of

Sexuality Volume One: An Introduction (1976 [trans.

1978]); volume II, The Use of Pleasure (1984 [trans.

1985]), and The Care of the Self (1984 [trans. 1986]).

food Foucault, Michel (1926–1984)


Foucault’s intellectual investigations originated

with an inquiry into the ways in which scientific

discourse shapes the boundaries between,

and relationship of, good and evil, safety and

danger, and health and illness. He observed that

the development of microtechnologies of surveillance

paved the way for society to act upon these

ideas in order to control the behavior of individuals

and diffuse norms among large groups. This

creates what he termed an environment of panopticism,

so titled after Jeremy Bentham’s (1748–

1832) eponymous prison in which inmates were

subject to a regime of constant and complete

surveillance. Ultimately, it was therefore not

simply discourse, but the entire infrastructure of

the rational, scientific face of governance, that

was implicated in the dual processes of individuation

and massing. In the twentieth century, these

processes culminated in the installation of authoritarian

regimes responsible for some of the

most grievous atrocities humankind has visited

upon itself.

Equally crucial to Foucault’s thought was the

tenet that science infuses social life with particularly

powerful behavioral norms, therefore equipping

individuals with technologies of the self

that cause them to internalize social norms

through which they become self-policing. Thus,

even the most private acts become moments

during which people reproduce cultural understandings

of the normal or the decent, and the

abnormal or the indecent. Technology permits

those dangerous individuals who are not “selfdisciplining”

to be disciplined by social institutions

and the state. Hospitals, prisons, and insane

asylums therefore function both to reinforce

norms for those who might stray and to discipline

the recalcitrant. Their logic and impact extends

beyond their own walls creating a carceral society

in which discipline is imposed on all individuals

privy to public spectacles of punishment.

Through his study of the natural and human

sciences, Foucault was able to reveal the capillary

nature of power. So, in his example, students

submit willingly to examinations, disciplining

themselves physically and mentally, even when

they have no expectation of immediate, coercive

punishment from a centralized authority. The

implications of the capillary nature of power also

allowed Foucault to reconceive the study of politics,

and more specifically government, by indicating

that it is the channels through which

power flows, and the methods by which it is exercised,

that ultimately constitute power. Governmentality

is a set of successful techniques whose

ultimate achievement is control and political

coordination of specific populations. In this

view, the state is only the most readily apparent

articulation of the larger process of


Because Foucault was committed to demonstrating

the manner in which the sciences are

not abstracted academic pursuits, but rather important

and unrecognized channels of power,

his substantive and methodological projects are

inextricably linked. Foucault’s most significant

methodological injunction is that meaning must

be sought by examining evidence not simply

qua evidence, but rather as composed of organic

artifacts laden with meaning beyond that explicitly

stated by their authors. In the case of historical

knowledge, we must be cognizant that

history is a product as much of the present in

which it is unearthed as the past that buried it.

Meaning is revealed via an intricate process of

what he initially termed archeology but later

came to be known as genealogy. The idea of a

legitimate authority of truth is debunked insofar

as knowledge and those who seek it are each

simultaneously the objects and tools of power.

This renders the concept of academic disciplines

one in which scientists discipline and are in turn

disciplined by the subjects of their inquiries.

Foucault himself rejected the claim that he was

a structuralist, though many find his approach to

show the influence of structuralist logic. Scholars

of Foucault have also engaged in a heated debate

about the intellectual coherence of his corpus.

Some have argued that, contained within the entirety

of his work, is an almost Rousseauian set

of distinct and sometimes inconsistent strains of

thought: one liberal and the other radical. The

liberal Foucault views power more neutrally than

does his more radically skeptical alter ego. To

critics, this also indicates an important inconsistency

in his understanding of power. Alternatively,

the disaggregation of power from domination

has the effect of redistributing the pejorative connotations

others have associated with power.

This makes room for a more normatively neutral

and less fatalistic vision of human interaction,

which both rescues Foucault from internal contradiction

and opens avenues for the study of

how individuals exercise power in ways that resist


Foucault attributed to his own work influences

that included Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Weber,

Theodor Adorno, and Max Horkheimer. In turn

his legacy has shaped the contributions of innumerable

social scientists, notable among them

Foucault, Michel (1926–1984) Foucault, Michel (1926–1984)


Pierre Bourdieu, Anthony Giddens, Nancy Fraser,

and Edward Said. His intellectual presence is felt

throughout the social sciences and remains

both particularly strong and controversial in the

fields of cultural geography, discourse analysis,

criminology, and the sociology of medicine.


Frank, Andre´ Gunder (1929–2005)

Born in Berlin and educated at the University of

Chicago where he obtained his PhD in Economics

in 1957 for his dissertation on Soviet agriculture,

Frank went to Latin America in 1962 where he

taught at the University of Brasilia. In 1965 he

moved to the National Autonomous University

of Mexico, and in 1968 he was a professor of sociology

at the University of Chile, where he became

involved in the social reforms of the Salvador

Allende administration, and, after the military

coup in 1973, he escaped to Europe where he

became Visiting Research Fellow at the Max-

Planck Institute in Starnberg, Germany, from

1974 to 1978. In the years leading up to his retirement

in 1994, he held many professorial appointments

in Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, the

Netherlands, and the United States.

Frank published extensively but his principal

contribution was to the emergence of development

theory in which he was a critic of modernization.

He argued that development was not a

unilinear or inevitable process from tradition to

modernity, because the developed world caused

the underdevelopment of peripheral economies

and societies. These critical assessments of the

impact of capitalism in Latin America appeared

in Capitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America

(1969) and Dependent Accumulation and Underdevelopment

(1978). He was critical of the western bias

in economic history and historical sociology, and

in ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age (1998)

he sought to re-assess the independent growth

of Asian economies before the age of western

imperialism. BRYAN S. TURNER

Frankfurt School

Although there was no “School” in the sense of

any agreed body of theory and research, the term

Frankfurt School is associated with theorists of

the Institut fu¨r Sozialforschung (Institute of Social

Research), founded in Frankfurt in 1923 and

at first directed by an orthodox Marxist, Carl

Gru¨nberg (1861–1940). In 1930 Max Horkheimer

assumed control and promoted interdisciplinary

research guided by a broadly Marxist social philosophy.

The Institute attracted a diverse group

of heterodox Marxist theorists, including Theodor

Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Herbert Marcuse, Fredrick

Pollock, Franz Neumann (1900–54), and Leo

Lowenthal (1900–93), who, between the 1930s

and 1960s, developed distinctive critical analysis

of western capitalism and culture, drawing insights

from many sources, including Georg

Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel , Immanuel Kant (1724–

1804), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), Max

Weber, Georg Simmel, Sigmund Freud, and Jewish

philosophy. In 1937 Horkheimer expounded the

concept of critical theory, as a programmatic statement

of his philosophy, which was to become one

of the most influential social theories of

the twentieth century. In opposition to “contemplative

theory,” or detached observation of the

world, Critical Theory would seek engagement

with radical sources of critique and emancipatory

practice, building into its concepts the possibility

of a better society.

However, by the 1930s the world had changed

dramatically from that represented in the classical

Marxist critique of capitalism. World War I

had demonstrated the capacity for mass destruction

created by technological warfare and unsettled

belief in progress though the development

of technology and science. The failure of revolutionary

movements in western Europe and the

success of the Russian Revolution created a new

global polarization compounded by the consequent

fission of the left into democratic socialist

and communist parties, and the dominance of

fascism over much of Europe. Further, the increasing

complexity of capitalist economies, the emergence

of new mass communications media (see

mass media and communications), and the increasing

role of the state in the economy meant

that the Marxist notions of class formation and

class-consciousness needed rethinking. In particular

these developments made the possibility

of successful proletarian revolution uncertain.

However, the “death of the proletariat” motif in

Critical Theory should not be exaggerated; in

1941 Horkheimer wrote the optimistic revolutionary

essay “The Authoritarian State,” invoking

the “trailblazing” tradition of workers’ councils

going back to 1871, which was imminently to

sweep aside the authoritarian state. Even so, in

Da¨mmerung (1934), Horkheimer had suggested

that there were “subtle apparatuses” (education

and mass media) working to protect capitalism

against revolutionary consciousness. Indeed, in a

world dominated by totalitarianism (Stalinist

and fascist) on the one hand, and the mass culture

industry on the other, any belief in the

Frank, Andre´ Gunder (1929–2005) Frankfurt School


redemptive potential of class struggle appeared


Any revolutionary cultural or political impulse

risked being incorporated and becoming itself

an instrument of domination. Thus, according to

Adorno, as the practical possibilities of emancipation

are closed off, “philosophy returns to

itself.” Karl Marx’s early works such as Hegel’s

Philosophy of Right had talked about the utopian

core of Hegelian philosophy being “realized,”

that is instantiated, through the real-life struggles

of the working class. But by the 1940s the realization

of this “moment” of history had been

missed and the urgent task of Critical Theory

was to keep alive the possibility of critical thought

at all, by developing perspectives that critique

the world from the standpoint of a future emancipated

society. One such influential and controversial

critique was that of the popular culture

industry epitomized in big band jazz and the

Hollywood cult of stardom. As culture was produced

for a mass market, the commodity form

entered the very process of creation or composition

of works of art, thereby undermining their

aesthetic form. This development created an uncritical

and soporific culture reconciled to the

status quo that lacked the glimpse offered by

aesthetic experience into the possibility of a

non-alienated existence.

Unlike orthodox Marxism, Critical Theory

was receptive to Freudianism. A distinctive feature

of Frankfurt research was the combination of

class analysis with analysis of the psychodynamics

of the family and authority. This theme came to

the fore after 1933, when the Institute was forced

to leave Nazi Germany, and functioned in exile

in Geneva, then New York, and finally California.

Marxism and psychoanalysis were combined with

empirical social psychology to generate a new

theory of authoritarianism (the authoritarian personality)

and critical reflection on the fate and

direction of western modernity. This combined

several themes of Frankfurt thinking, in particular

the economic and cultural logics of late

capitalism, the psychosocial processes of authority

and family, and their relationship to mass culture

and consumption.

In Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944 [trans. 1973]),

Horkheimer and Adorno located the origins of

domination deep in human history, at the point

at which scientific calculating reason was

deployed to overcome the forces of nature, which

were often symbolized in myths. In the process of

enlightenment, on which cultural modernity is

based, instrumental calculating reason (Verstand)

gained dominance over objective reason (Vernunft),

which could pose questions about the rationality

of social institutions. The consequence of this

was that ultimate questions about the worth of

human societies were deemed “irrational,” and all

values (whether fascist or liberal, for example)

became matters of personal decision rather than

objective judgment. The Culture Industry contributes

further to this degeneration of public life.

By 1953 the Institute was able to move back to

the University of Frankfurt in Germany, where

Adorno assumed a co-directorship with Horkheimer

in 1955. He died in 1969 and Horkheimer in

1973. The Institute of Social Research continued

but what was known as the “Frankfurt School” did

not. Critical Theory has continued as an increasingly

diverse body of theory with less direct connection

with Frankfurt. The most significant

figure in this phase was Ju¨rgen Habermas, who

studied philosophy and sociology at the Institute

in the 1960s and returned to a chair at the University

of Frankfurt in 1982. Over four decades of

work, Habermas has drawn on virtually the whole

corpus of social theory and philosophy to develop

a comprehensive Critical Theory that remains

critical of the commercial and technocratic colonization

of the public sphere yet locates new

sources of rational critique and emancipatory

practice. In particular he has sought to defend

aspects of the Enlightenment tradition associated

with modernity that he considers to be constructive

and emancipatory from what he sees as their

premature rejection by an earlier Critical Theory.


Frazier, E. Franklin (1894–1962)

In 1948 Edward Franklin Frazier was elected

President of the American Sociological Association,

at a time when the United States had not

begun to deal with its racism. The high regard in

which academic sociology held this black man was

founded on Frazier’s broad learning and pathbreaking

scholarship, which led to eight books,

of which two are classics, The Negro Family in the

United States (1939) and Black Bourgeoisie (1957).

Both were years ahead of their time in sociology’s

attempt to understand the strengths of the black

family and the weaknesses of the black


After attending Baltimore schools, Frazier was

a student at Howard University (BA, 1916), after

which he taught mathematics, history, English,

and French at several schools, including Tuskegee

Institute. His interest in sociology dates to graduate

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