Sugar And Sugar Chapter Summaries

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From my own experience as an Anthropology student, I know that only few things can be considered universally accepted in our world. Nevertheless, sweetness seems to be a pretty well accepted concept in all cultures. Although most of the cultures in the world see not to be opposed to the introduction of some form of sweetness in their daily diet, the amount of these substances that is used in different areas varieties a lot. This book is meanly concerned with the form of sweetness that comes from sugar. Sugar is obtained from sugar cane through a process that requires a lot of steps and labor. This could be the reason for which for a long time, sugar was a product known only to the wealthy and opulent class. Nevertheless, it fame grew among …show more content…
In chapter four, the author talks about how different products have different meaning for people depending on people race, culture, and class. In the beginning, poor people started to consume sugar as a way to imitate the upper class members. Then, when sugar became easier to find, they started to consume it as a way to obtain calories for their daily jobs. With a growing demand for sugar, the production of it became more important for England in the political and economic arena. Nevertheless, as the author explained in the last chapter, the increase in the production of sugar was not given to an increase in the technology but to an increase in the importation of slaves from different African countries. We can infer that the growing demand for sugar during this period also meant an increase in the slave trade which at the same time created a bigger humanitarian crisis in the countries involved in this kind of trade. I think that one of the most important ideas of this chapter lies on the concept of how we socially construct a meaning for food, and other products we consume daily. The author draws a picture in which he reflects that sugar was one of the first products that people used in the western hemisphere to try to establish a social difference. Mintz calls this concept “the complex idea that one could become different by consuming different”. At this point, sugar is not any more a food, but a symbol of power and wealth. The creation of social symbols that can determine our social status and importance is a very deep and complex idea to study; I think that Mintz does a good job trying to show how sugar became one of these

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