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Mushrooms, knowledge exchange and polytemporality in Kalloni, Greek Macedonia

Knight, Daniel Martyn (2014) Mushrooms, knowledge exchange and polytemporality in Kalloni, Greek Macedonia. Food, Culture and Society, 17 (2). pp. 183-201. ISSN 1552-8014

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Identification Number: 10.2752/175174414X13871910532105


Each autumn, the village of Kalloni in Greek Macedonia is woken from its usual seasonal slumber by groups of mushroom hunters. Since the former inhabitants migrated to surrounding towns during the 1940s, Kalloni has gradually become deserted outside of the summer months. The mushroom-picking season ignites dormant social networks of embodied knowledge and history. Mushrooms facilitate a polytemporal link to historical and sensory experience and are central to the cultural repertoire of negotiating social change. History is relived through mushroom-picking and embodied knowledge transmitted. Successive generations maintain a highly ritualized practice infused with notions of historical constructivism, polytemporality, diverse forms of exchange and kinship rivalry. Artifacts, food, information, memory and narratives are exchanged during the mushroom season. The veil of secrecy that surrounds mushroom-picking is only ever partially de-shrouded as misinformation, deceit and competition are widespread. The practice has become culturally proximate as an activity that links dispersed actors to their ancestral village. Mushroom-picking enlivens otherwise abandoned social spaces and activates networks of relations and knowledge. Thus, mushrooms not only help produce a dynamic social arena of discernment, but also facilitate historical consciousness.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Authors
Divisions: European Institute
Hellenic Observatory
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2013 11:33
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 01:45

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