Sri Lanka

Overheating in Sri Lanka: The Articulation of Food and Desire with the Ecological, Economic, and Cultural Crises 

Researcher: Wim van Daele, Post-Docoral Fellow

Paddy field in Sri Lanka. Photo: Wim van Daele

A local shop in Mahiyanganaya, Sri Lanka. Photo Wim van Daele

This project is elaborated from the perspective that food offers us a specific, pressing, and tangible vehicle with which to study the three crises of globalisation—economic, environmental, and cultural—given that food is an assemblage of components articulated with these crises at multiple levels, all connected with desire in both destructive and creative forms, leading some to speak of a global food crisis.

In Sri Lanka and anywhere else, food is indeed a matter of increasing concern as it is connected and subjected to climate change and other environmental hazards, the monopolisation of food supply by agri-businesses, and a destructive overheating or burning of culturally relational ways of being by way of excessively incited desires. Given food’s centrality to the desire for sustenance and regeneration of human (ways of) life and interrelations, and the connection of food to these crises that are catalysed by these destructive forms of desire, it carries these issues into the existential, intimate, and visceral domain of relational human being. In sum, as an assembled hologram—three-dimensional miniature—it holographically condenses these crises and thereby turns into a potent matter of concern that offers a window to the crises and dynamics of globalisation as experienced in the Sri Lankan flesh. The structure of the proposal consists of first sketching the former PhD research and teasing out some of the preliminary findings that relate well to the project of “Overheating” from which logically follow the ensuing research questions and set-up. 

Food offering at the crossroads where yakkhas or devils dwell. Photo: Wim van Daele


Published June 10, 2015 11:30 AM - Last modified June 10, 2015 11:38 AM