Harbottle - Chapter 02
Food holds a central place within the social order and for this rea-son
it has long been a subject of considerable interest to anthropologists.
Since the days of Mead (1943) attempts have been made to
study the eating habits of selected populations. Often such observations
were made as part of a wider ethnographic study of a specific
population, but gradually a more specific interest in the anthropology
of food emerged, leading to the eventual development of a distinct
subfield of nutritional anthropology. A number of authors have
undertaken reviews of the most significant perspectives to have held
sway in anthropology and related disciplines, including Murcott
(1988), Beardsworth and Keil (1997: 47–70) and Caplan (1997). It is
not, therefore, my intention to reiterate each of these approaches in
laborious detail, but rather, to consider what they may have to offer
to contemporary researchers in the field of food and eating, and in
particular how they might inform and enrich this study.