Food and cultural omnivorism: a reflexive discussion on otherness, interculturality and cosmopolitanism

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Abstract

This paper is part of the research project “Cosmopolitismos juvenis no Brasil” (Youth Cosmopolitanisms in Brazil), partner of the international research project “Cultures Juveniles à l’ ère de la globalization”. Our aim for this paper is to understand the connection between food and cosmopolitan experiences, discussing two main perspectives of omnivorism studies - (1) that cultural omnivorism cause long-term indifference for cultural diversity; and (2) that this omnivorism indicates only intercultural curiosity translated into specific distinctive capital in fields of power - and the possibility of these visions of cultural omnivorism turn into a reflexive view of the Other. We applied empirical and bibliographic research, including qualitative research with Brazilians aged between 18 and 24 years who are living in the city of São Paulo, and theoretical reflections related to the fields of food and cultural studies, covering omnivorism, otherness and cosmopolitanism. In the case of the first perspective, there is no possibility of connection to otherness, hence, to cosmopolitanism. The analysis of the second perspective shows that it is possible to find threats of distinction connected to cultural and food omnivorism. Therefore, it is still necessary to develop further studies to understand the reflexive dimension of cosmopolitanism within cultural and food consumption.

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