AA  Vol.7 No.3 , August 2017
“The Edibility Approach”: Using Edibility to Explore Relationships, Plant Agency and the Porosity of Species’ Boundaries
Abstract: In light of correspondence between interdisciplinary representations of plant abilities, this paper raises questions about plant/human-animal relationships and in so doing problematizes the category/species boundaries that both establish and characterize the differences between plant and animal. Using a more than human (Cf. Whatmore 2002; Head et al., 2012) multi-species (Kirksey and Helmreich 2010) framework that rejects reductionist methods in favour of a relational, materialities approach; an alternative method to consider plant/human-animal relationships that focuses on edibility and the consequences of ingestion is proposed. Termed the Edibility Approach, this method foregrounds the ways that plants influence human bodies as a result of their edibility and considers the corollary processes that occur during ingestion and after digestion. Interrogation of the social effects of eating plants and the part plants play in inciting behaviours as if from “the inside” of bodies adds a nuanced direction to the study of plant/human-animal relationships. This phyto-centric framing offers a new botanical ontology and conceptual tool. By focusing on the dependencies between species, it proposes that there is a multi-vocal embodied dialogue occurring between species through digestion.
Cite this paper: Attala, L. (2017) “The Edibility Approach”: Using Edibility to Explore Relationships, Plant Agency and the Porosity of Species’ Boundaries. Advances in Anthropology, 7, 125-145. doi: 10.4236/aa.2017.73009.

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