What we declare when we share our fresh-baked loaves | Mark Kingwell

For those who would prefer an easier entry into the philosophy of Pierre Bourdieu, here’s some storytelling on the Covid-19 phenomenon of baking sourdough bread by Mark Kingwell.

Side note: Bourdieu is notorious for being difficult to read. Since the original writing was in French, I asked my friend Ian if it was any easier in French than English. His response: no.

Well, go ahead and bake bread. But your homemade toast is a boast, and the food posts are a judgment, a declaration of authenticity. Also – here’s the kicker – so is the act of claiming that they aren’t. In fact, that last move is the ultimate attempt to leapfrog into meta-boasting and meta-judging. […]

Mr. Bourdieu’s monumental 1979 book Distinction – almost 650 pages, translated into English by the nicely named Richard Nice – makes the general anthropological point. No matter what your particular tastes and inclinations (what Mr. Bourdieu calls habitus ), there are always ways to feel superior to others, with their own tastes and inclinations, and ideally also to make them feel inferior for having theirs.

The most obvious form of this game is snobbery: the various mechanisms by which financially or socially elevated classes manage, first, to establish an in-group identity and then, second, to make out-groupers feel excluded and bad.

“Give us not your daily bread: What we declare when we share our fresh-baked loaves” | Mark Kingwell | May 8, 2020 | Globe & Mail at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-give-us-not-your-daily-bread-what-we-declare-when-we-share-our-fresh/

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