The ‘Edibility Approach’: Using Edibility to Explore Relationships, Plant Agency and the Porosity of Species’ Boundaries

Attala, Luci (2017) The ‘Edibility Approach’: Using Edibility to Explore Relationships, Plant Agency and the Porosity of Species’ Boundaries. Advances in Anthropology, 7 (3). pp. 125-145. ISSN ISSN Online: 2163-9361

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This paper introduces the Edibility Approach, which proposes that the condi-tion of ‘being edible’ is a mechanism that some plants employ to influence their in-gesters to care for them. In light of correspondences between interdisciplinary repre-sentations of plants’ abilities to communicate across species, this paper demonstrates how, rather than passive entities, plants actively use their edibility to forge relation-ships with other beings. Using an interdisciplinary and ethnographic framework that foregrounds the ways that plants influence human bodies specifically, the Edibility Approach encourages consideration of the corollary processes that occur during and succeeding digestion from a relational perspective. Interrogation of the social effects of eating plants and the part plants play in inciting behaviours as if from ‘the inside’ of bodies moves away from the notion that plants are resources and towards understand-ing that they are active influencers. This offers a much needed alternative direction to the study of plant/human-animal relationships. Therefore, this phyto-centric framing offers a new botanical ontology and conceptual tool to explore dependencies between species. In addition, by using a morethanhuman, multi-species framework that rejects reductionist methods in favour of the relational, the Edibility Approach effectively problematizes the category/species boundaries that both establish and characterize the differences between plant and animal. In so doing it offers a timely contribution to the scholarship that hopes to offer novel methods of understanding planetary relationships in the Anthropocene.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Plants , Edibility
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Institutes and Academies > Institute of Education and Humanities > Academic Discipline: Humanities and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Luci Attala
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2018 16:03
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2023 15:49

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