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    Food is relationships isn't it," Yamada san stated in 2017, neatly capturing the importance of food in social life. This article, drawing on the experiences of people with severe food allergies in Japan, illustrates the complexities of safely managing allergies when food-and the importance of sharing the same food-is so important to social life. In particular, I argue that individuals develop and practice skills of vigilance and situational awareness to mitigate physical and social risk which emerge through an affective imagination of what they feel could happen in the future, built on embodied memories of what has been experienced prior (e.g., severe allergic reactions and difficult social experiences with food). The development and enactment of these skills of vigilance happen through an 'education of attention' (Gibson in The ecological approach to visual perception, Psychology Press, New York, 1979; Ingold in The perception of the environment: essays on livelihood, dwelling and skill, Routledge, London, 2000) developed over time and in different social settings and constitute a somatic mode of attention (Csordas in Cult Anthropol 8:135-156, 1993) which shapes social interactions and aims to mitigate against any potential perceived social costs for not being able to eat everything. © 2020. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


    Emma E Cook. Embodied Memory, Affective Imagination, and Vigilance: Navigating Food Allergies in Japan. Culture, medicine and psychiatry. 2021 Dec;45(4):544-564

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    PMID: 32975640

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