“Food, joy and festive spending”

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    I share with you a synthesis of my recent book article:

    “Comida, goce y gasto festivo”. In the book La fiesta y la vida: estudios desde una sociología de las prácticas intersticiales, of Adrián Scribano, Graciela Magallanes y María Eugenia Boito (Comps.). Pp. 201-216. ISBN: 978-987-1599-92-9. Editorial CICCUS, Buenos Aires, 2012.


    In the celebrations, food is central, since conveys and articulates the possibility of festivity and enjoyment. Is a vector that allows individuals to unite in various types of interstitial practices. The objective of the work, so far, was the survey of the various meanings that the subjects gave to the food and drink consumed in the festivities.
    Throughout this work we will interspersing theoretical developments with the voice of the participants and our observations of a series of festivities, in the town of Villa Maria (Province of Cordoba, Argentina), between 2010 and 2011, to finally display a series of reflections and conclusions.

    The festive spending as an interstitial practice constitutes a vanishing point, an “other” possibility, in opposition with the menu of oppressive mechanisms and devices -of varying subtlety- that characterize the current form of social structuration of this mode of production. In a stage of the capitalism that we understand as “neo-colonial”, there are a series of mechanisms/devices that make possible the (re)production of the system: the mechanisms of social supportability and the sensation regulation devices.

    Varying degrees of institutionalization and rationalization have “colonized” (sensu Habermas), the festive spending, including institutional parties or any other celebratory events. Since the approach proposed here, “right where festive experiences and spaces become bordering states in their approach and distancing frames, it emerges the festive spending as a denied experience, but always present in the parties” (Scribano, 2011).

    The similarity of the carnivalesque with the festive spending is very intense. Beyond the focus, the carnival is a festive spending because of several reasons: a) on it, it is invested the everydayness of living-to-produce, b) it is redefined the relationships between creative chaos and reproductive order, c) it subverts the logic spending-accumulation.

    Finally, we say that in the social practices involving festive spending it is a dialectic between excess, humor and laughter. From the frugality of the ascetic saving it is passed to events that require wasteful excesses. From excess, humor and laughter, you can see more clearly  the pornography involved in resignation. In the above context, it is possible to observe how from festive spending we can weave a matrix with reciprocity and hope. The festive spending knot, makes a convergence with the “practices of willing” and the “gift-reciprocity practices”, so makes happiness possible. Festive spending breaks the regulation of resignation and “destroys” the mimetic of a consumption that has become a guarantor of fetishism. All these interstitial practices running “parallel” to the anti-expropriatory practices, constitute a complex of actions which are arranged as potentially disruptive.

    As noted here, party, social class and food, with their transformations over time and changing scenarios-is a relationship that appears clearly: some of these relationships are those that are treated throughout this article.


    I will highly appreciate any comments or suggestions to enrich the work.

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