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6.2 CULINARY ARTS, Food Culture, Gastronomy, Food Studies, *Literary Food Studies, *Irish Food Studies

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A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for M.A. Gastronomy and Food Studies, Technological University Dublin, School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, May 2023.


This thesis uses gastrocriticism to explore food and drink in the 86 episodes of the long-form narrative HBO television series The Sopranos. Gastrocriticism is an emerging branch of literary criticism that draws on scholarship from a range of disciplines such as sociology, anthropology and cultural studies. A deeper understanding of the series was gained by using a structured framework of enquiry to explore narrative, setting, characterisation and genre through the lens of food and foodways. The Sopranos is a story of an Italian-American crime family and food is abundant in the series and bound up with the identity of the main characters. This study highlighted how the intertextual food tropes in The Sopranos are a continuation of the gangster genre, recalling expressions of Italian-American identity, family, esprit de corps and power. Food is central to the plot and is used in a variety of ways; as a key narrative device; an embodiment of the personality of the lead character; as a vehicle to access the subconscious; as a symbol of greed; as a symbol of power, as a token of identity, and as a signal of outlier status. Looking at food and foodways offered insight into the nuances of the characterisations and Italian-American identity, and how this identity is evolving as the population is becoming more assimilated in America. A gastrocritical viewing of The Sopranos has provided a more in-depth understanding of the series and the cultural landscape of the time. This study shows how foodways are a foundational component of ethnic identity.


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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.