Volume 7: 2019

Questions of Taste?

Volume editors:
Sara Steinert Borella, Ph.D.
Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs
Professor, Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies
Franklin University Switzerland

Satomi Sugiyama, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Communication and Media Studies
Franklin University Switzerland

This issue of intervalla will examine questions of taste from an interdisciplinary perspective, thus welcoming contributions that consider how taste reflects and shapes who we are, what we eat, what we wear, and what we become. The sense of taste, whether it refers to the metaphorical sense of taste (aesthetic discrimination) or the literal sense of taste (gustatory taste), is a fundamental part of human experiences. Yet, taste as a concept remains somewhat ambiguous, and much has been written about taste straddling the personal and the collective. Bourdieu’s analysis of taste reminds us that formation of taste is a social and cultural process, and how our bodily experiences are essential for developing taste. We propose that the notion of taste be examined at and across multiple levels of scope, from the individual to the societal, and to all the interactions that follow.

Under the current media environment, the process of shaping and reshaping our taste is increasingly influenced by our experiences that are not necessarily local and physical. With the overwhelming amount of information about diverse tastes, hierarchies of taste become an important question. We know we all have certain tastes, and that some are more valued than others. As Parkhurst Ferguson explains: “many of us in fact spend a good deal of time accounting for taste…Hierarchies govern taste. Every social setting prizes certain tastes and disdains others, and food is no exception” (19). Fashion as “collective selection of taste” as defined by Blumer, is also heavily intertwined with such hierarchies of taste. We are especially interested in discourses constructed around taste, from food to fashion, and how taste is practiced across disciplines and across cultures. Articles might consider questions like: how are hierarchies of taste determined and expressed? How are discourses of taste articulated and recorded? How do these discourses change across time and across cultures? What factors influence and determine taste both theoretically and in practice? In answering these questions, this intervalla invites authors who rethink the parameters of taste in a specific cultural or critical context to share their contribution.

The journal, intervalla, volume 7, seeks contributions that explore these inflections of and reflections on taste in the twenty-first century. Please send an abstract (250 – 300 words) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before August 15, 2019. A completed paper (3500 – 4500 words) is due on December 1, 2019 for peer review.

References:

Blumer, Herbert. “Fashion: From class differentiation to collective selection.” The Sociological Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 3, 1969, pp. 275-291.

Bourdieu, Pierre. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste (Trans R Nice). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984.

Parkhurst Ferguson, Priscilla. Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.

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