Text topic: Studies
Text author: Neven Duvnjak i Maja Baletić
This article describes the main sociological and anthropological meanings of nutrition through history, from mythological and religious meanings, through the contrast between poverty and wealth, to the consumeristic, functionalistic, structuralistic and developmental theories (Bourdieu, Douglas, Durkheim, Elias, Fichler, Goody, Levi-Strauss, Mennel, Myerson, Simmel, Sobal, Veblen etc.). It is discussed how food, with all of its cultural customs and rules, has gained different interpretations in different social systems and epochs. All these interpretations share a common fact that food is not only primary human need, but also the ideatic, symbolic, cultural and philosophical concept which represents an integral part of the world views and the way of life specific to a certain community and/or period of time. Particularly interesting is the connection of consumption with the mythological and religious patterns, by which this basic dimension of life becomes a mediator between the profane and the holy world – because, from the archaic times, food has always been a means for achieving unity with the divine.