Rice in the Filipino Diet and Culture by ProQuest


This paper deals with a basic question: How central is rice to Philippine culture, as gleaned from its role in Filipino material and cultural life? To answer this question, this paper focuses on the structural position of most Filipinos vis--vis rice. Economic changes have rendered most Filipinos, even in rural areas, as consumers rather than as producers of rice. The paper provides a brief social history of rice, from a mainly elite and nonstaple food in precolonial times to a relatively widely available staple food by the end of the nineteenth century. This process was accompanied by two interrelated developments: the diminution of magical elements, and the symbolic displacement of rice. Today, rice reflects the stratification of Philippine society, as supported by the latest quantitative data on rice consumption. The paper concludes with reflections on the significance of rice for commensality at the level of small groups, and on its marginality for the society as a whole, brought about by consumer culture, urbanization, and the Green Revolution. [PUBLICATION ABSTRACT]

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