Polyphony of Food
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Om Polyphony of Food
The Polyphony of Food explores food as a multiple discourse in the context of Abraham Maslow's theory of the hierarchy of human needs and motivations. In Maslow's theory, food as a basic psychological need belongs to the tier of D (deficit) needs. However, it is the author's assumption that food and eating cut across the whole hierarchical board of human motivations. In many cases, food takes on compensatory functions and stands for other needs, thus satisfying the entire range of D, and even of B (being) needs. Food is an expression of material culture and marks dominant social distinctions in society, such as gender, class, religion, age, profession and ethnicity. Apart from being highly ritualized, food serves to highlight what people find beautiful or ugly, what they view as acceptable and unacceptable, proper or improper. Numerous illustrations and anecdotes aim to prove that food and meals are a means to feel safe and secure, to affirm cultural and social identity, and to serve as a vehicle of bonding, affiliation, belonging, acceptance, love and esteem as well as a means of self-actualization. A special emphasis is placed on the concept of food appropriateness which is linked to politeness and viewed from several standpoints.