Department of Culture & Creative Industries
PhD title: Taste and Modernity: A case study of food, culture and identity in Istanbul
Supervisor: Professor Andy C. Pratt and Dr. Janet Merkel
Summary of current doctoral research
Aysegul’s doctoral research focused on changing conceptions of culture and identity in transitioning societies and examined distinction practice/positional struggles that individuals give on a daily basis in relation to who they are, their likes and dislikes by studying their food cultures.
Working within the ambit of Bourdieusian theories of culture, Aysegul aimed to present an innovative mode of approaching taste and identity in her thesis. Aiming to go beyond the more conventional static ordering and stratification of culture, she explored the contradictory positionings that characterize everyday lives of individuals in Turkey (more specifically Istanbul), which can manifest themselves clearly in their food cultures.
Indeed, food facilitated a unique insight into the active making and remaking of cultural distinctions and identity, since food has always been about sociality, practice and organization, formality and commensality; and as Aysegul’s thesis also argued, it also extended to notions of cosmopolitanism, modernity, tradition and authenticity.
Cultural Sociology, Food Studies, Cultural Studies, Cultural Identity.