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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Languages of Light Lecture - Food, Light and Colors: a look into the structures of experience in Buenos Aires, Argentina

14th May 2014, 17:00 to 18:00, Room 140, Elvet Riverside Building, New Elvet, Professor Adrian Scribano Director of the Centre for Research and Sociological Studies (CIES), Argentina


Contemporary societies are structured around globalized states of sensibility, where the form, content and volume of food hold a central place. Everyday life develops in the apparent contradiction between a certain “refinement” of eating and the multiple experiences of hunger. Food is and has been a relevant issue for social sciences: since the classic authors as Montesquieu up to contemporary authors as Elias and Bourdieu, passing by disciplinary developments of sociology and anthropology what, how, and how much we eat becomes a central theme to understand social structuration. The presentation intends to show the connections between food, colours and emotions in the sensibility structure in Argentina by examining the partial results of two surveys carried out in the city of Buenos Aires in 2010 and 2012, and in-depth interviews of chefs and restaurant owners. The talk will focus on the connections between food, colours and emotions, and will explore the place of light in the sensibility structure. The presentation sustains the vital importance of food and eating practices in the constitution of emotion policies in Argentina and in the Global South, asserting the necessity and urgency of deepening this study.

Professor Scribano is Director of the Centre for Sociological Research and Studies (CIES) and an independent researcher at the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (Buenos Aires, Argentina). He is also the Director of the Study Group on Sociology of Emotions and Bodies, in the Gino Germani Investigation Institute, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Buenos Aires. His main research areas are social theory (critical realism), collective action, sociology of emotions and research methods. He published Sensibilidades en juego: miradas múltiples desde los estudios sociales de los cuerpos y las emociones (with Pedro Lisdero; 2010) and "Sociology and Epistemology in Studies on Social Movements in South America" (Sociologija. Mintis ir veiksmas, 2011). Professor Adrian Scribano holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Buenos Aires, as well as an MA in Developmental Science, ILADES, Santiago, Chilem and a BA in Political Science from the University of Córdoba.

This lecture is hosted by the Institute of Advanced Study, as part of the ‘Languages of Light’ series. Attendance is free and all are welcome.

The Languages of Light research strand will examine:

a) The semiotics of light, and its meaning-making implications;

b) How knowledge discourses deploy and mediate dichotomies of light/darkness; the philosophical, political and methodological assumptions and effects of such dichotomies;

c) The extent to which perspectives from different languages, historical periods and cultural contexts highlight and help to elucidate (the terms themselves are indicative) key issues surrounding the meanings of light;

d) The significance of illumination practices – and metaphors of illumination – as these change over time and across cultures.

The Languages of Light strand will involve a series of public lectures and discussions addressing cultural, experiential and epistemological aspects of light. These include the ‘clearings’ or ‘lightenings’ (Heidegger’s Lichtungen) that allow intelligibility to emerge; the role of luminosity and scintillation in intersubjective relations (Levinas); the multiple implications of enlightenment (as historical Aufklärung, but also as spiritual Erleuchtung); the relationships between illumination and other cultural practices and institutions, from the culinary to the cinematic; the politics of sleep and wakefulness in capitalist postmodernity; and the changed epistemological implications of light after the utter darkness of the Shoah.

Contact for more information about this event.