Home    Number 1, 2012

The Nutrition System and Social Structure of the Chenchu of Southern India

Type of publication: Research Article

About author(s)

Aleksei V. Ivanov | alex.freeday@gmail.com | Social Anthropology Research and Education Center


nutrition system, forms of ritual food distribution, social structure, atomism, enforcement to marriage, structural forces


The author conducts an analysis of the nutrition system among the Chenchu of Southern India. He examines both the composition of meals and the products used in cooking, and argues that the food comprises two major categories: sacred, which is prepared from the meat of sacrifi cial domestic animal, and profane, which is lean. The former is timed to a holiday or celebration connected to beliefs in a deity or spirit, while the latter is consumed daily. The meal of each kind implies a distinctive group of participants sharing it. The author subjects to analysis both the types of social groups that the Chenchu associate into, and the structural forces holding people within these groups. He argues that there may exist a specifi c mental construction in the Chenchu cultural consciousness, which goes in line both with the notion of atomism that scholars related to the Chenchu social structure, and with the fi eld data that tend to contradict that notion, and with the dynamics of social change.


Ivanov, A.V. 2012. The Nutrition System and Social Structure of the Chenchu of Southern India. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie 1: 32-50

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