George Serntedakis (VU University Amsterdam), "Food, sociality and the city. The case study of the “Fellow Human”"
This presentation is a first attempt to analyse data that have been collected through a 10 month fieldwork in Athens for my PhD research under the title: “«Volunteerism» and sociality in times of crisis”, which I am currently conducting at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in the department of Social and Cultural Anthropology.
By exploring the ideologies of gift-giving through food, I aim to understand the different terms in which sociality between strangers is constructed in the urban cityscape of Athens. Focusing on two grassroots initiatives- which differ in the levels of institutionalization- which cook and distribute food in Athens, I intend to approach the social and the cultural dimensions of the phenomenon and the way in which the ‘cultural’ determines, affects and gives essence to the ‘political’. The politics of ‘volunteerism’ and the cultural formation of the political, form the main subjects of my research.
This presentation, aims to explore practices of eating together, commensality, as a practice of developing egalitarian social relationships, in times of neoliberal austerity and overlapping crises in Greece. Food, in my case study, is not seen as a commodity but mainly as a tool that can bring people together and make them visible in the cityscape of Athens.
Focusing into the initiative of the “Fellow Human” (Ο Άλλος Άνθρωπος) an initiative which cook and distributes food in the streets of Athens I will attempt to argue that it is high time to return to the discussion about commensality, and explore its crucial role, in crisis driven Greece, to other analytic terms such as sociality, solidarity and the right to the city.
George Serntedakis is a Ph.D student at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, since 2018. He is conducting research in Athens, Greece, with grassroots organizations that cook and distribute food in the streets of Athens.
He received his B.A from the Department of Social Anthropology and History at the University of the Aegean and his M.A on Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Amsterdam.
His research interests lie in the area of solidarity, grassroots organizations, social movements, food and urban studies.