Unité d'études chinoises

Léo Maillet

M. Léo Maillet


Thèse (en cours)

« The Social Life of Dough: Noodles, Bread, and their Social Interactions in the People’s Republic of China » sous la direction de la prof. Laure Zhang et du prof. Stéphane Dudoignon.


Abstract: What does the social life of wheat dough look like in inner China? Even though this may be seen as a rather peculiar question, the following inquiry will try to expose how adopting this perspective can help us understand the extent to which dough products, such as noodle and bread, play a key role in social interactions in the Chinese urban context. On the basis of this approach lies Arjun Appadurai’s (1986: 5) injunction to “[…] follow the things themselves, for their meanings are inscribed in their forms, their uses, their trajectories.” An approach that has also been explored by French sociologist Bruno Latour (1996: VIII) for whom “sociology is not the science of human beings alone”. This study proposes to question the social life of dough by focusing on three types of spaces: production, sale, and consumption.

Keywords: Social Life of Things; Commensality; Urban China.