The Cultural Politics of Food in China: From the Manchu-Han Imperial Feast to the Clean Your Plate Campaign

By Xinxin Jiang.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 10, 2014 $US5.00

The study of food, in recent years, has undergone remarkable changes and has been constantly attracting attention from different fields in academia around the world. It has been realized that food not only provides explicit nutritional and biological sustenance, but also represents complex cultural and political implications. The relationship between food and politics has always been subtle and it is highly necessary to discuss whether food really has the power to influence the political world and in which way, and to what extent it exerts power on it. The principal objective of this essay is to analyze the political connotations reflected by food as well as the related dietary and culinary practices in Chinese culture. Two examples, the Manchu-Han Imperial Feast and the Clean Your Plate Campaign, will be closely examined in order to dig out the deep political significance conveyed by them. In the meantime, their historical background, their overall influence, the reaction from common people, and the attitude of government will all be presented and discussed. Then a comparative study of the two phenomena will be carried out as a major finding of this essay. Finally, this essay will also assist readers, especially those who are not familiar with Chinese culture, in gaining new perspectives about the roles of food both in an ancient time and in the contemporary era.

Keywords: Food, Politics, Culture, Manchu-Han Imperial Feast, Clean Your Plate Campaign

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 3, Issue 2, July 2014, pp.61-69. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 10, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 389.210KB)).

Xinxin Jiang

Lecturer, School of Foreign Languages for Economics and Trade, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Wenjiang, Sichuan, China

Xinxin Jiang is a lecturer at Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China. Her research interests include American studies, material culture, mass media, and food studies.