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Browsing by Author "Väätämöinen, Maija"

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  • Väätämöinen, Maija (2016)
    The aim of this Master’s thesis is to find out what kinds of meanings the Mapuche living in Santiago de Chile give to food and food related practices. The study focuses on the meanings articulated in the interview talk on sociocultural practices and place attachment and is grounded on the notion of language as a tool in the social construction of reality. On the semantic level I study meanings constructed in the interview talk, but I also take into account how these meanings are described as embodied practices. The study has been influenced by place, identity, indigenous, everyday life, migration and memory studies but sets its ground in folklore studies for its aim to study what ’ordinary’ people tell about their life. The study reveals how food articulates culture and life and is related to spiritual and ritualistic practices in the everyday life of the Mapuche. In addition, food is a marker of belonging and identity: it is a way to differentiate us from ’the others’ and to strengthen the meaningful bond to the South, the Araucania region, from where the Mapuche have migrated to Santiago. For the Mapuche, food has an origin. Moreover, food can be seen as a site of memory, remembered in different food dishes and artefacts or by doing or talking about food. Food constructs the past in the present and is used as a tool to move between different spatiotemporal dimensions. There is an important distinction made between living and performing the culture, between adapting the culture ’naturally’ or consciously learning it. Some Mapuche argue that being a Mapuche can only be understood as a feeling inside while others find it important to practice the culture daily. These two opposing views form a basis for a new indigenous cultural theory that can offer understanding on how to practice culture and build identity in urban context distant from the land of origin. In the end, in spite of the worry for the continuity of food related practices to the following generations, food traditions still appear vivid and are actively transmitted in the lives of the Mapuche and show their importance to both migrated and Santiago-born Mapuche.