, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 929-932
Date: 14 Mar 2012

Douglas Harper and Patrizia Faccioli: The Italian Way: Food & Social Life

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Food—and social eating, especially—is a strong marker of cultural memory. In Italy, it is particularly revealing. Whether it is food consumed in festivals, dinner on Sundays, or family lunches during the week—all trigger emotions and memories attached to a particular time and place. In The Italian Way: Food & Social Life, sociologists Douglas Harper (Duquesne University) and Patrizia Faccioli (Università di Bologna) seek to answer questions about Italian food culture—Why is the food so consistently good? Why is eating with a virtual stranger such a pleasure? Even casual observation in Italy shows a populace that appreciates the social value of food intricately prepared and enthusiastically shared, yet authors Harper and Faccioli frame similar observations in a sociology and pictorial ethnography of food that is compelling.

The authors—one, an experienced “visual ethnographer” (Harper), and the other, the author/editor of seven books in Italian (Faccioli)—share an interest in “visual soc