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Ingesting Places: the embodied geographies of coffee
chapterposted on 2012-09-11, 13:12 authored by Benjamin F. Coles
Coles asks what geographies are consumed when social actors ingest specialist coffee and he explores the ways in which places of coffee production are reproduced materially as well as discursively and semiotically, in addition to examining how these places are literally and figuratively ingested. Based on ethnographic research in a London-based coffee importer and retailer, Coles’ chapter examines how the intimate and distant places of production are fashioned and (re)produced by the material and social rituals of eating and drinking. The author reflects on the paradox that in an era of seemingly nameless and placeless commodities, the relationship between place and food is becoming increasingly important to some consumers, and he explores how the act of eating mobilises and stakes claims to particular (kinds of) geographies while dismissing others. Coles’ chapter thereby draws attention to the scales of consumption, as drinking coffee draws together a range of places from the intimate and embodied to the global – and everywhere in between. He further shows how place moves through the food system not only as a marker of quality, safety and distinction, but also as an indication of suspicion, danger, and banality, and he argues that, as we eat, we reproduce these demarcations. This leads Coles to ask, when we eat what is it that we are ingesting: a food or a place, proximity or distance?
CitationColes, Benjamin F., Ingesting Places: the embodied geographies of coffee, ed. Abbots, Emma-Jayne; Lavis, Anna, 'Why We Eat, How We Eat: Contemporary Encounters between Foods and Bodies', Ashgate, 2013.
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Geography/Human Geography
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)