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    Food, multiplicity, and imperialism: patterns of domination and subversion in the modern international system

    Colas, Alex (2022) Food, multiplicity, and imperialism: patterns of domination and subversion in the modern international system. Cooperation and Conflict 57 (3), pp. 384-401. ISSN 1460-3691.

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    Abstract

    This paper mobilises the notion of global food regime to explore ways in which modern international relations are reproduced through distinctive patterns of alimentary domination and subversion. It considers three ideal-typical international encounters – the Spanish conquest of the Americas, British rule in South Asia, and the US occupation of Japan – to offer a stylised historical-sociological comparison of how food becomes a powerful site of interaction between conflicting dynamics of social differentiation and incorporation, segregation and admixture, and domination and subversion. The Spanish, British and Americans deployed different strategies of alimentary domination in these contexts, which can in large measure be explained with reference to their prevailing mode of production. But they also unleashed equally potent forces of culinary adaptation, transculturation and innovation which, in bringing together a multiplicity of foodways, subverted both the rigid structures of imperial rule and notions of a pristine pre-colonial or national cultural traditions.

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