文章摘要
杨筑慧,胡文兰.异味与佳肴:瘪的话语建构与象征意义[J].民族学刊,2019,10(1):39-46, 108-111
异味与佳肴:瘪的话语建构与象征意义
Odor and Cuisine: The Construction and Symbolism of Discourse of Bie
  
DOI:10.3969/j.issn.1674-9391.2019.01.05
中文关键词:   肮脏  现代性  象征  西南少数民族
英文关键词: Bie (瘪)  dirty  modernity  symbol  southwest ethnic groups
基金项目:
作者单位
杨筑慧 中央民族大学民族学与社会学学院 
胡文兰 中央民族大学民族学与社会学学院 
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中文摘要:
      瘪是从牛羊胃或小肠中提取的未完全消化的食物所制成的一种汁液佐料,以之加工的菜肴主要流行于贵州、广西、云南等地部分少数民族中,其食用过程往往带有神圣性与仪式性。但因其来源与“他者”认知中的“卫生”有巨大的差距,长期被视为肮脏、落后、原始的表现,并推于食之的少数民族。然而,20世纪90年代以来,随着民族地区旅游业的开展,大众媒体的广泛传播,在媒介、游客、地方政府以及乡民的大力推介下,瘪逐渐实现了华丽的转身,成为健康、原生态的表征,以及一定地域文化的象征符号。瘪的话语建构,反映了人们追求新奇、包容多元的现代性反叛,借助于瘪,那些曾被视为原始、落后的地域和人们一定意义上实现了身份标签的扭转。
英文摘要:
      Food is the necessary material basis for human survival and reproduction. As a social and cultural phenomenon, it is mutually defined with human beings so that it has social life. Based on fieldwork related literature and network data, this paper makes a preliminary discussion on the historical origin, production and construction of modern significance of Bie (or瘪)in southeastern Guizhou Province, aiming to explain how a kind of odd and rare food became a local cultural symbol under the manipulation of different subjects and has special social significance. The ethnic minorities such as Miao, Dong, Yao and Dai, who live in the mountainous regions of southwest China, are influenced by factors such as their ecology and environment and kinds of livelihoods. Each has gradually formed their own unique lifestyles and eating habits, and eating Bie is one of them. Bie, also known as Sapie, is a favorite food condiment of many local ethnic groups. It is a kind of juice processed from partially digested food found in the stomach or small intestine of cow or sheep. In the process of making bie, undigested grasses are taken out of the stomach of cow or sheep, water is added, and the juice is squeezed out and then boiled. Sometimes bitter bile is added to enhance different tastes. Finally, it is filtered as a seasoning to reserve. When frying or boiling beef and mutton, some Bie and other condiments are added before serving. Bie has a grass-green color; it is bitter and cool, has a slight smell of grassy fishiness. Because the source of its ingredients is regarded “foul and dirty” by outsiders, for a long time, Bie has been regarded as primitive, backward, and unhygienic. These characteristics have been transferred from the food to the people who eat it, becoming a kind of identity. This was particularly noted before the 1990s. As a kind of food, it has a long history among the ethnic groups who live in the southwestern mountainous areas, and has been recorded in Chinese historical literature as early as in the Tang and Song dynasties. During the Republican Era of China, with the gradual extension of governance by the central government to the ethnic minorities in mountainous areas, immigrants constantly entered these ethnic areas, and records documenting Bie gradually increased. However, most of these records depicted it either as a novelty or as filthy. Outsiders perceive Bie from their own cultural lens, however, the local people who eat Bie have their own social and cultural logic. Because cattle are an important animal of power for many ethnic minorities in the southwest mountainous areas, and its dung is used as one of the main sources of fertilizer for farming, cattle are endowed with great importance in traditional folk society. Cattle are respected as important family property and they are also regarded as sacred objects. Because of the kind of environment sheep need, they are not very common in some areas, especially among the people who eat Bie. In the past, people generally did not slaughter cattle and sheep easily, and they did not specifically slaughter these animals to make the food made from the undigested grasses in their stomachs. Thus, eating Bie is often associated with ceremonial or sacred occasions, and also has a communal significance, that is, people slaughter cattle and sheep only when holding important activities or celebrations during the Spring Festival holidays. They make the food from the undigested grasses from the animals’ stomachs to host guests, which is a symbol of hospitality. In some ethnic groups, there are special legends about the origin of the custom of eating Bie. The legends contain two themes: one is that Bie shows respect for cattle, which are the embodiment of traditional farming culture and farm food customs; the other is that cow dung, which is regarded as dirtiness and filth, and is heavy-handed way to punish people, when it changes from “dung” to “Bie”, it transforms from dirt into “medicine”. It then has the effect of strengthening the body, which metaphorically is a kind of of sympathetic witchcraft. This metonymy reverses the identity and status of “Bie”, and foreshadows its becoming a regional symbol in the later period. According to relevant records, before the 1990s, we rarely hear about Bie being sold as a commodity. There were no special restaurants which sold it in urban areas, not mention larger cities. Later, with the development of the commodity economy and the improvement of people’s living standards, some towns where the Miao and Dong ethnic groups live gradually began to have restaurants that sold food with Bie. Beef sellers in the market also started to sell soup flavored with Bie, and Bie gradually moved from remote villages to towns. Afterwards, the rapid development of expressways and high-speed railway in these areas, the numbers of visitors has increased annually. With the convenience of the Internet, the production of this unique food was widely disseminated by tourists and curious people. Its function of “being a medicinal food” has also been greatly played up, and it has been endowed with the connotation of being ecological and organic. To this end, some specialized agencies have also tested the medicinal value of beef versus beef flavored with Bie from a scientific perspective, further demonstrating the health benefits of Bie. In the process, the local government also developed it as a unique ethnic cultural resource for tourism to promote the development of the local economy. Nothing is more remarkable than the creation of Zhongcheng Town of Rongjiang County, Guizhou Province as “China’s No. 1 Bie City”. With the cooperation and promotion of the media, the reputation of Bie has emerged and attracted more and more tourists. As restaurants serving Bie expanded from county towns to prefectural cities and the provincial capital, Bie acquired fame, and became a regional marker, and achieved a remarkable turn-around. It can be said that Bie, in its shift from remote village to city, from the “foul and filthy” to the “delicious”, from the harmful to the beneficial, from ethnic food to local symbol, in its new modernized form experienced the joint forces of: the media, tourists, local people and local government. It has become a medium for the villagers to reverse their self-identity, for urban people to pursue ecology and health, for the media to pursue the “odd” and their need for increasing their audience, and for the tourists’ need to experience different cultures and individuality. The article asserts that eating Bie has certain relevance for the rice cultures of some southwestern mountainous ethnic groups, especially relevant to the customs of eating sticky rice. The respect for the cattle and the expectation of health make the process of eating Bie highly ritualistic and sacred, and the “eater” regards it as a delicious dish. However, eating raw materials taken from what people perceive as “dirty” undigested matter in the stomach of cattle or sheep, the ethnic groups who ate it were labeled “primitive” and “backward”. For a long time, this food was only found in remote ethnic areas, and those who consumed it were ashamed to speak out. In the records of Han literature before the 1990s, it was often sneered at, while accompanied by infinite curiosity and imagination. However, with the entry of ethnic minorities in remote areas into the process of modernization and globalization, and the extensive use of mass media, those things that used to be regarded as “primitive” and “backward” have gradually entered the “vision” of outsiders from different places. With the help of the internet and mass tourism, the differences have become a rebellion of modernity. Local governments, the media and even the villagers use certain demands of the “other” to carry out historical anti-propaganda consciously and autonomously, showing a positive and self-reliant effort to change the reality of their vulnerability, which in turn caters to a certain fashion of modern publicity. It is in this context that Bie has become a symbol of the expression of the self-identity of some ethnic groups in the southwest. It represents health, primitive ecology, organic, expresses both “alternative and novelty”, and also reflects modern people’s tolerance and acceptance of multiculturalism. It seems that the nature of food is not defined by itself, but by the rationality of the eater. It also shows us that the concept of so-called “ecological” and “organic” are themselves pseudo-propositions under the influence of modernity. During the long history of mankind, foods without pesticides, fertilizers and excessive food additives have nourished the civilizations of the world. Only with the manipulation and intervention of modern technology has food become “polluted”. As history has progressed, food safety has become a more and more serious social problem. People’s anxiety about food safety has never been as high as it is now. It has triggered the construction of social harmony. As a result, those “ecological” and “organic” foods that are grown in remote areas, depend on animal manure, have not used pesticides and fertilizers, and have no food additives are sought after by people. In this sense, the food itself also has a strong voice.
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