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Title: 'The ethic of regard' : artisan practice and the stuff of food
Author: Williams, Joby
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 9162
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis develops an interpretation of 'the artisan' as practice, and through practice, taking as its particular case artisan cheese. It pays specific attention to food's materiality. Recognising the vitality of foodstuff, it destabilises conventional notions of the artisan as an exclusively human endeavour, in favour of an alternative construction of the artisan as that which comes together through multiple and heterogeneous human and non-human practices. Research is based on a multi-locale ethnography and extended periods of participant observation across a number of field sites, relating to the production, affinage and retail of artisan cheese. This approach permits an in-depth engagement with practice within and between sites, and with the particular contributions of food's lively matter. Each of the chapters explores distinct sites, tracing the inconsistencies and discontinuities of praxis and progressively decentring conventional conceptualisations of 'the artisan'. As the chapters unfold a thread is drawn out that allows these multiple practices to cohere, and around which an alternative account of what holds the artisan together is constructed. I identify this unifying thread as 'the ethic of regard', characterised by relations of response, curiosity and humility during quotidian encounters, and emergent in the precarious balance between responsiveness and control. This thesis engages with work on 'the artisan' and also with the extensive food studies literature. Artisan praxis is gradually driven out of these existing interpretations and, in an approach informed by post- and non-humanist studies, it is proposed that an appreciation of food as vital and potent matter, rather than as a static bearer of social meanings, can contribute to our understanding of the artisan as emergent in practice, through the coming together of people, materials and things.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available