This World and Beyond: Food Practices and the Social Order in Mayan Religion

  • Brian Stross


When ethnographers study the foods and food practices of a community or a people, even when they concentrate their efforts on everyday foods and their production, distribution, preparation, and consumption in this world, they usually find that there is much more to describe than they had anticipated. When the study embraces religious uses of foods, and therefore includes foodways pertaining to the otherworld(s) as well as food practices involved with transitioning between worlds, the description becomes even more complex, for it must then include food for the deities and food for the soul, among other categories of foods along with such other food practices as those discussed below. Foodways that are part of religious practice are generally more ritualized, specifying also in greater detail the performers, practices, and paraphernalia involved than would be done with secular foodways. I hope to present, in a programmatic way, without dealing with the secular foodways and everyday foods of people in this world, some of the complexity of foodways involving consumption and religion.


Social Differentiation Food Practice Mayan Language Food Offering Lower World 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Stross
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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