Fishfinger stew and peach tarts: from hunger to nourishment in the Dwars River Valley

Monday, 30 July, 2018 - 15:00

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This paper operationalises a concept of nourishment in relation to an ethnographic account of a day at a soup kitchen in Kylemore, in the Dwars river Valley, South Africa. An unpalatable soup made from donated food is served, and the distribution of peach tarts highlights the spectacle of shame, notions of morality tied to Christianity, and the complex practices of charity. By foregrounding hunger, shame, kindness, and actual food in turn, we move from a presumption of hunger to a search for ‘the good soup’ that nourishment recognises and indexes in relation to language and belonging. This re-ordering of representations demands a consideration of ‘vertical time’, the researcher’s position and body, and the ethics implicit in eating together (or not).

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