Session 4: Careful Indulgence: Ethics and Consumption in the Twenty-First Century

          Letting art alone for the day, the fourth session of the conference took human beings as the subject of gastronomic inquiry, reflecting on how different perspectives on consumption can radically alter one’s relationship to the natural world, and even one’s relationship to the self. In this next section of the proceedings, we are fortunate to have our authors approach similar topics such as veganism and ethical living from two different disciplines: anthropology and linguistics.

         In “Askesis and the Ethics of Eating at a Yoga School in South India,” Jack Sidnell departs from previous anthropological approaches to gastronomy by seeking to understand food choices as an ethical practice of self-cultivation. Drawing on the later works of Michel Foucault and ethnographic field research conducted at the Krishna Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute in southern India, Sidnell shows how students at this yoga school use dietary regimes as part of a daily askesis by which they seek to constitute themselves as particular kinds of ethical subjects.

         In “The Vegan Subcode in Italy: A Preliminary Study of the Italian Vegan Lexicon Based on Renata Balducci’s Vegan Cookbook,” Christina Vani discusses a new linguistic subcode that has emerged within the Italian language in reaction to a growing vegan subculture in Italy. Using Renata Balducci’s Nobili scorpacciate vegan as a reference, Vani documents the subculture’s (sometimes inconsistent) process of importing and adapting words from other cuisines and cultures in order to fill a lexical lacuna for the Italian vegan community.