Publication of the Month: July 2020

Gastropolitical encounters and the political life of sensation

Photo: ‘Food’ from SRN’s SG Photobank

Food as a political object has been pivotal in defining the political and socioeconomic positioning of political leaders across many different countries. Instrumentalised as a diplomatic tool to enhance and maintain economic and international relations, food as gifts and acts of commensality are routinely built into the pursuit and maintenance of local and foreign policy, which points to both the materiality and sensoriality of gastrodiplomacy. This is, however, a realm of analysis that is fairly incipient in sensory scholarship. I make conceptual connections between food, senses and political life by proposing the notion of political gustemology, and by developing conceptual parameters in explicating the political life of sensation. In directing attention to sensory aspects of gastropolitical encounters, the article departs from extant works on gastrodiplomacy and provides a newer framework and insight to apprehend the embodied and sensory features of political episodes in everyday life.


Low, K. E. Y. (2020). Gastropolitical encounters and the political life of sensation. The Sociological Review.

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