THE PRESENTATION OF ETHNIC AUTHENTICITY:

THE PRESENTATION OF ETHNIC AUTHENTICITY: Ethnic entrepreneurs in American society often carve out an economic niche by means of business enterprises and cultural events that are open to the general public and showcase ethnic culture. These locations depend upon a display of the ethnic culture that is simultneously seen as “authentic” and within the bounds of cultural expectations (“Americaized”). In a society that values toleration and cross‐cultural contacts, many consumers desire a unique, yet comfortable experience, given their own cultural preferences. We focus on the presentation of ethnic food in four Chinese restarants in a small southern city. Ethnic tradition continues but in the context of a continuous process of adaptation. Authenticity is not an objective criterion but is socially constructed and linked to expectations. We contrast two broad classes of Chinese restarants—consumption‐oriented and connoisseur‐oriented—to describe strategies by which restaurateurs fit Chinese food into market niches. We conclude by suggesting some directions for the study of public ethnic culture. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Sociological Quarterly Wiley

THE PRESENTATION OF ETHNIC AUTHENTICITY:

The Sociological Quarterly, Volume 36 (3) – Jun 1, 1995

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1995 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0038-0253
eISSN
1533-8525
DOI
10.1111/j.1533-8525.1995.tb00452.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Ethnic entrepreneurs in American society often carve out an economic niche by means of business enterprises and cultural events that are open to the general public and showcase ethnic culture. These locations depend upon a display of the ethnic culture that is simultneously seen as “authentic” and within the bounds of cultural expectations (“Americaized”). In a society that values toleration and cross‐cultural contacts, many consumers desire a unique, yet comfortable experience, given their own cultural preferences. We focus on the presentation of ethnic food in four Chinese restarants in a small southern city. Ethnic tradition continues but in the context of a continuous process of adaptation. Authenticity is not an objective criterion but is socially constructed and linked to expectations. We contrast two broad classes of Chinese restarants—consumption‐oriented and connoisseur‐oriented—to describe strategies by which restaurateurs fit Chinese food into market niches. We conclude by suggesting some directions for the study of public ethnic culture.

Journal

The Sociological QuarterlyWiley

Published: Jun 1, 1995

References

  • Ethnicity and Entrepreneurship
    Aldrich, Aldrich; Waldinger, Waldinger
  • Chan is Missing : The Asian Eye Examines Cultural Studies
    Denzin, Denzin
  • Why Do Vegetarian Restaurants Serve Hamburgers? Toward an Understanding of a Cuisine
    Rosenberg, Rosenberg
  • Thought for Food: A Study of Written Instructions
    Tomlinson, Tomlinson

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