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Archive of past issues of the Journal for critique of science

Issue No. 255 - A critical view on food&nutrition / Art and-or handicap (1/4 2014)

ČKZ številka 255

(ČKZ št. 255 - 1/4 2014)


A critical view on food and nutrition - From the recipe to neuroscience


Download PDFpp. 7-8 by Luka Zevnik


pp. 16–28 by Nikola Jovanović Kolenc

Uncle Freud and his Amusing Psycho-Culinary

What can psychoanalysis tellus aboutfood and eating? It begins with Freud, usually with the articulation of hunger (appetite) as a basic food instinct by analogy with the sexual drive (libido), and continues with the civilizing of appetite and cultural thinking about diets (ways of eating). If these debates on instinct and sexuality are fundamental for the civilizing of appetite, the latter process is shown as a key in the formation of one’s ‘relationship’ to food. Civilizing of appetite and the (culturally determined) incorporation of food do not only form a primary relationship with the nutritious aspect of food, but also generate modes of enjoyment and non-enjoyment in food. The secondary approach, which is considering food through the instrumentation of needs, desires and fantasies, is the only one that really makes an in-depth understanding of the place and value of food, in both psychical and social registry. It is necessary not to forget that the market-capitalist environment is the one that increasingly imposes rules of consumption and daily diets. Each new food experience turns out to be favorable or unfavorable beyond the mere fact that the gratification of appetite does not (necessarily) mean the gratification of appetite desires. Therefore, enjoying food becomes a modality of politics: on the one hand, the politics of flavors and, on the other hand, the politics of market and products. Since food and eating are political, and they work as a particular ideology that codetermines “what to eat and drink” it is inevitable that psycho‑culinary meets the concept of identity, which persists in the saying “I am what I eat.”

Download PDFKeywords: psychoanalysis, food, appetite, capitalism, pleasure, need, desire, phantasm

Dr. Nikola Janović Kolenc is a sociologist and cultural theorist, independent researcher, and Memefest collaborator. His theoretical and practical research mostly focuses on contemporary studies of culture and society, food, and issues regarding ideology theory and biopolitics. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 29–39 by Manuel Kuran

Cognitive and Cultural Dimensions of Neurogastronomy

Neurogastronomy is a new paradigm of preparing and consuming food, which combines cooking with contemporary neuroscientific findings. In the background of this synergy is the belief that cooking and eating are not limited by a single human need, the need for eating, but that it is a multisensory human experience. The main purpose of this paper is to present the research findings of perception and interpretation of the flavors at the brain-activity level from the perspective of evolutionary and cognitive psychology. The author first explains the key concepts and the relationship between the molecular kitchen and neurogastronomy, followed by important findings in the neurophysiological research of flavor. The paper concludes with a critical reflection on the limits of laboratory experiments, which do not take into account many environmental factors and violate so called ecological validity.

Download PDFKeywords: neurogastronomy, molecular kitchen, taste, odor, neuroscience

Manuel Kuran, Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information Tehnology, University of Primorska. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 40–51 by Jernej Mlekuž

When Carniolan Sausage Shines among the Stars. On the Consumption of “Cosmo‑sausages”

Certain nations eat certain foods with particular enjoyment. These foods are usually not eaten merely for their caloric value (if there is any), but are consumed with pride (and of course there are many who analyze and/or caricature that pride). With these foods symbolic consumption is often more important than the physical (although we often cannot neglect their physical consumption, the paper will not dwell on this argument). One paradigmatic example of such a food is the space Carniolan sausage, which has been physically consumed (if at all) only by an astronaut with Slovene roots. All other Slovenes can only enjoy it through language. When they consume the (space) Carniolan sausage through language, they are most likely consuming that which it signifies. Carniolan sausage is probably the most common, most dominant, most satisfying (“culinary”) signifier of Sloveneness; it is a sort of Slovene culinary flag. But, following Michael Billig, in the case of the consumption of the space Carniolan sausage, what kind of culinary flag are we dealing with: one that is being waved or not?

Download PDFKeywords: Carniolan sausage, nationalism, food, language, consumption

Dr. Jernej Mlekuž, Slovenian Migration Institute, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 52–60 by Franc Trček

Liminality of the »Balkan« Fast Food and Innovative Strategies of its »Europeization«: Čevapčiči with Truffles or Euro-Kebap?

The paper starts with the liminal state of the Balkan fast food in Slovenia and then analyzes innovative attempts of overcoming them by providers. These try to adapt its offer to our local tastes as well as to the change in tastes. In their attempts they are forced to compete with global fast food franchises. In spite of their innovative approaches, they are still in the liminal state that forces them again and again to invent of new flavors.

Download PDFKeywords : Balkans, liminality, fast food, burek, sociology of food

Dr. Franc Trček is an urbanologist and expert on the Balkans. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 61–69 by Jernej Mlekuž

The Grease Runs Through It. On Eating Ultra-greasy Bureks

Various male peer groups use a form of symbolic consumption, the topical consuming of greasy bureks, as a form of rebellion against the dominant healthy-lifestyle discourse with which they are bombarded in the media, advertising, formal and informal education. But this high-school rebellion cannot be understood primarily as an opposition to the hegemonic ideas of healthy-lifestyle discourse which holds the burek so close to its heart and often indulges in it (it particularly turns up its nose at burek’s fattiness). This high-school rebellion most likely has to be understood more as a rebellion with and for the burek, and not as a clear and planned revolt against the dominant healthy-lifestyle discourse. Healthy-lifestyle discourse thus appears as an appendage, a parasite on the popular “cheap and nearly always and everywhere available and satis” burek, which gives further meaning and nuance to this rebellion with/for the burek. The rebellion therefore occurs through a spectacular style, which has to be understood as intentional “communication which in subcultures is emphasized and unusual, which calls attention to itself, which represents, overthrows and destroys the dominant meanings and uses of commodities. But of course this intentional communication”—at least in the case of teenagers— eating bureks has to be read as intentional at the level of the subculture. And this means that it is not done consciously or is even understood by all of the individuals in the subculture.

Download PDFKeywords: burek, fat, healthy lifestyle, youth, subcultures

Dr. Jernej Mlekuž, Slovenian Migration Institute, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 70–77 by Gana Forić

Burek and Social Values

The crucial function of food is to preserve life; however, food often has symbolic meaning in the society and, as such, may suggest much about culture, tradition and eating habits of a certain societies. Everyday availability and consumption of food seems natural for human beings. Because of that, we rarely think about the meanings of food within different societies. The article tries to place burek into social context and to attribute burek certain meanings which were shaped in the society. The author tries to compare meanings of burek in two different, yet also similar cultures—Bosnian and Slovenian. Scientific articles on this topic have already been presented to Slovenian public, but none of them presented the viewpoints of Bosnian immigrants to Slovenia.

Download PDFKeywords: burek, social values, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, meanings of the food

Gana Forić, third year student of international relations at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 78–86 by Kristina Meršak

»According to Common Sense«: Gender, Nationality and Class in Cooking Show Ljubezen skozi želodec

»Ljubezen skozi želodec« is the first Slovenian lifestyle cooking show hosted by spouses, publishers and foodies Valentina Smej Novak and Luka Novak. The aim of the article is to determine what gender, class and national representations are reproduced by the show. The analysis of four seasons of the cooking show demonstrates that, in regard to social class and gender, »Ljubezen skozi želodec« can be compared to similar shows abroad, such as those hosted by Jamie Oliver and Nigella. Masculinity and femininity are constructed through traditional roles where the ideology of family and care for the children is vital. All this corresponds to the Slovenian socio-cultural environment characterized by Catholicism. Class identities are the reflection of Bourdieu’s taste of luxury and a contemporary omnivorous taste of an environmentally conscious consumer. As for the national angle, the Central-European and partially also the French and Italian identity are stressed rather than the Slovenian one, which puts Slovenia on the socio-cultural map of the Central Europe and at the same time negates the culinary influence of the former Yugoslav republics.

Download PDFKeywords: cooking, lifestyle, cultural capital, foodie, television

Kristina Meršak, MA in Cultural Studies. Her research interests include lifestyle media, TV and food cultures. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)



pp. 87–101 by Damir Josipovič

A Layer Cake—From the Dish from Prekmurje to the Representative National Specialty

The layer cake from Prekmurje—gibanica—is not merely a culinary specialty. It is an immaterial culturological content moving through its physical space. The phenomenon of gibanica marks modern Slovenes at least from the 1980s onwards and was deployed as an important medium of the Slovene ethno-national emancipation and the prospect of independence. Apart of other implications, we established a working hypothesis wherein the gibanica personifies severe problems of nativeness as one of crucial implications of contemporary mono-layered societal stratification in Slovenia. Applying comparative analysis of various regional and ethno-linguistic indicators, we confirmed the initial hypothesis and, furthermore, ascertained that gibanica managed to operate not only as a regional predictor but as a social-status predictor as well. From a local class-related dessert, it evolved into a pastry of the entire population of Prekmurje only after WWII. Whereas the emergence of the recipe of the cake is not known precisely, it may be placed somewhere into the 19th century and put together with the Jewish settlement in the Prekmurje region. Today, gibanica, so much different from the layer cake of Prlekija, represents the non-negotiable boundary of the Sloveneness towards the Croatianness despite the common geographical and cultural origin.

Download PDFKeywords: gibanica, Old-Slovenians, Young-Slovenians, Prekmurian language, Prekmurje (Trans-Mura region/Slovenia), Jews, Prekmurians

Dr. Damir Josipovič is working on human, social and cultural geography and demographic research at the Institute for Ethnic Studies in Ljubljana. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)



pp. 102–112 by Teja Pristavec

Celebratory Food Rituals and Community

The following paper, based on a comparative analysis of secondary sources and participant observation, examines food as a symbolic object serving to integrate communities through holiday rituals. Its theoretical framework points to food as a semiotic element, shows its relation to rituals and community, and establishes analytic distinctions between the everyday and the celebratory, sacred and profane, and ritual and routine. It then observes the integrative role of food in select family communities through the dimensions of communication, commitment, and continuity (Fiese, 2006). Based on field observations, it identifies and elaborates on two profane ritual acts focusing on food; celebratory cooking with intensive nutritional socialization and family gatherings with communal meals. It finds that the integrative role of such rituals transcends particular family communities, strengthening wider kinship groups and the idea of a nation state. It concludes with a summary of findings relating to the integrative role of food during celebratory times and considers their limitations.

Download PDFKeywords: food, holidays, community, ritual

Teja Pristavec is currently a PhD student in Sociology at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and an Excellence Fellow with the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


Art and/or handicap

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pp. 115-116 by Katja Sudec


pp. 117–127 by Robi Kroflič

Emancipation trough the Artistic Experience and the Meaning of Handicap as Instance of Otherness

The key hypothesis of the article is that successful inter-mediation of art to vulnerable groups of people (including children) depends on the correct identification of the nature of an artistic act and on the meaning that handicap—as an instance of otherness—has in the life of artists and spectators. A just access to the artistic experience is basically not the question of the distribution of artistic production (since if artistic object is principally accessible to all people, it will not reach vulnerable groups of spectators), but of ensuring artistic creativity and presentation. This presupposes a spectator as a competent being who is able to interact with the artistic object without our interpretative explanation and who is sensible to the instance of otherness (handicap is merely a specific form of otherness). The theory of emancipation from J. Ranciere, the theory of recognition from A. Honneth, and the theory of narration from P. Ricoeur and R. Kearney, as well as our experiences with a comprehensive inductive approach and artistic experience as one of its basic educational methods offer us a theoretical framework for such a model of art inter-mediation.

Download PDFKeywords: education, emancipation, just recognition, narrative hermeneutics, artistic experience

Prof. Robi Kroflič, PhD, is an educationalist, philosopher and researcher, works as professor of educational sciences at the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)



pp. 128–140 by Claudia Hummel

This House is Beautiful. We Should Sqaut it. The Actualization of the Museum

The text is about three different interventions into art exhibitions. The first approach is about an intervention at Documenta 12, questioning the possibilities of art reception and artworks through physical acting and re-acting. The second example describes a counter-reading of an exhibition through different forms of every-day knowledge: building of the 6th Berlin Biennale which showed artistic works using forms and evoking associations about squatting was counter‑read by former squatters. The third example is about squatting an exhibition about the issue of migration by refugees and activists. By doing an exhibition in the exhibition about their own life, they question the intention and political seriousness of the cultural institution – in this case the German Historical Museum. All three examples confront art institutions with different forms of knowledge and describe the fields of gallery education. How can we “apply” art and what is the possibility and responsibility of gallery education to become an atelier to question contemporary society?

Download PDFKeywords: community, contemporary art, critical gallery education, educational turn, gentrification, intervention, performativity

Claudia Hummel is fine arts pedagogue and artist, lecturer at Art in Context at UDK Berlin. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 141–158 by Katja Sudec

Mental Representations in Art Discourse

The paper starts by examining the content included in the museum environment, where I write about the type of relations that emerge in a museum or artistic setting. This is followed by an observation of a social act (socialising) and a chapter on the use of food in an artistic venue. At the end, I address art education via the format that I developed at the 6th Berlin Biennale. This is followed by an overview of the cognitive model of the fort-da game based on Freud’s theory via two discourse models. Here, I address discourse on art works in the form of a lecture or reading, where the art space is fictitiously present, and then move on to discuss discourse on art works in real, “present” art space. This is followed by a section on actions ( Handlungen in German) and methods supporting the fort-da model. The last part of the article examines the issue of “mental representations”, defining and explaining the function of mental representations with regard to the target audience of the blind and visually impaired.

Download PDFKeywords: discourse, intermediation, method, act (Handlung), art education setting (Kunstvermittlungs-Setting), performative thinking, mental representation

Katja Sudec is a cultural promoter, educator, artist and cultural manager. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)



pp. 159–165 by Jovana Komnenič and Dirk Sorge

Perception as a Tool

The article presents a project of providing guidelines on art education for the blind and visually impaired, which was entitled Perception as a Tool and presented at the Berlin Biennale on 6 October 2010. It focuses on potential aspects of art education with regard to people with special needs and seeks to discover what happens with art if we cannot see it. This approach to art education combines elements of conventional tours of exhibitions and involves the participants through play. The methods that were used in our work included establishing dramatic tension and insecurity in the group as well as mutual trust by relying on different resources, including sensory perception, personal biography and different forms of knowledge and skills. A major part of the project is finding hidden, invisible or forgotten stories that are not directly linked to the exhibition and the aspects directly related to the exhibition. Such a generally inclusive approach enabled us to formulate political questions on the issue of ’invisibility’.

Download PDFKeywords: cooperation, performative, art education, exchange, inclusion, perception, blind and visually impaired, (auto)biographical, tour and experiment, irritation

Jovana Komnenič is an artist, museum and gallery custos and curator in Berlin. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Dirk Sorge is a blind artist and coordinator of the working cultural group at the Berlin’s Association of Blind People. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


pp. 166–172 by Evgen Bavčar

On Freedom of Cultural and Artistic Information and the Use of Own Talents

The paper deals with freedom and free access to books and shows the (im)possibilities regarding the access of information, be it in the world of books or in the general area of fine arts. Only the facts themselves show the true state of people whose freedom was taken from them through their handicap. Several cases from Slovenia as well as from abroad try to depict the true state without any embellishment. The facts presented, however, should serve as a reflection of what is already carried out and what should be improved in the future. It emphasizes the need to educate a new generation of special educators who should learn about the world of disabled people on the ground of new concepts that appreciate the other (or different) as a supplement of their own uniqueness or unique individuality, respectively. The author also expresses hope for the future improvements regarding the accessibility of digital media for the visually impaired on the grounds of the treaty for the blind and visually impaired, signed by the World Blind Union in Marrakesh. The Treaty obliges the United Nations to make appeal to the countries regarding the legal accessibility of digital documents for the blind and was broadly presented in Rikoss, the newspaper published by the Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired of Slovenia.

Download PDFKeywords: books, fine arts, accessibility, visually impaired people, special pedagogues, treaty, legal access, digital media

DDr. Evgen Bavčar is a philosopher, photographer, publicist and essayist, visiting professor across Europe and the United States. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)



pp. 173–181 by Aksinja Kermauner

Audio-haptic-virtual Mona Lisa (The Blind and Painting)

The purpose of the article is to explore in what ways the visual arts (with emphasis on painting) can be brought closer to the blind in the postmodern society, in which sight is perceived to be the chief sense and in which most information is based on images. The basic methods of presenting a work of art involve the remaining senses, mostly those of hearing and touch. It is of course not enough just to deliver a factual description of a painting or to transform it into tactile graphics – more complex techniques such as audio-description, method of associations, participating in role-playing, all with the aim of a holistic experience of the work of art, must be sought instead. In the world of virtual reality, additional equipment for the blind (e.g., data gloves) provides new opportunities.

Download PDFKeywords: blind persons, painting, sense of touch, sense of hearing, virtual reality

Dr. Aksinija Kermauner is tiphlopedagogue, teaching at Faculty of Education, Koper. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)



McLuhan's medium theory


pp. 183–191 by Ana Beguš

Media as Epistemological Interfaces: McLuhan’s Medium Theory

The paper presents the methodological approach of Marshall McLuhan to media research, known as the medium theory. The author initially presents the key concepts of the medium theory, including the tetrad of media effects as a tool for anticipating the cultural implications of technology, and proposes the hypothesis that McLuhan understood media as primarily epistemological interfaces. McLuhan’s methodological approach is then placed into a theoretical context, especially in comparison to other similar approaches (Benjamin, Flusser, Haraway). The last part of the paper presents the authors, building on McLuhan’s theory (Toronto School of Communication, Manovich), and the relevance of his research today.

Download PDFKeywords: medium theory, Toronto School of Communications, tetrad of media effects, cultural interfaces, digital media

Assist. Prof. Ana Beguš graduated in Translation and obtained her doctoral degree in philosophy and theory of visual culture; her research areas are new media and language technologies. (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)



pp. 192–206 by Marshall McLuhan and Bruce R. Powers

The Wheel and the Axle

Touch is the resonant interval or frontier of change and process, and is indispensable for the study of technological effects. Interface is the basis of the relationship between the visual and acoustic space. Much of present-day confusion and ferment stems from the divergent experience of the Western literate man on the one hand, and his new surroundings of simultaneous and acoustic knowledge on the other. Part of this problem stems from an inadequate understanding of the nature of the archetype. An archetype has both an overt and hidden side (figure and ground). The tetrad reveals both. The hidden effects of any archetypal situation are the aspects that truly shape our behavior. Many academic fields of inquiry have been stymied by a misunderstanding of how visual and acoustic space relate to the notions of the diachronic and synchronic. This confusion mirrors the whole disjointedness of Western education, which emphasizes left-brain over right-brain cognition, and which may be traced back to the works of both Plato and Aristotle. The tetradic analysis corrects this imbalance.

Download PDFKeywords: media, technologies, tetrad of media effects, visual space, acoustic space


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