Melding the public and private spheres: Taking commmensality seriously

Critical Review: A Journal of Politics and Society 10 (4):533-550 (1996)
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Abstract Tibor Scitovsky's The Joyless Economy distinguished the pleasure of moving from discomfort to comfort and the pleasure of replacing boredom with stimulation. I have argued that there are also pleasures distinctive to participating in public life. A third form of pleasure berlongs to both the private and the public domain: the common meal leads to individual satiation and, as a result of commensality, has important social and public effects. A good example is the banquet in ancient Greece, closely connected to the lottery?the basic mechanism of Athenian democracy. But the common meal can also lead to the degradation of human relations and political life.



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