The normative order of sensing: Enacting the score sheet in tasting sessions
Tasting sessions represent a perspicuous setting for a praxeological approach of sensoriality: they are a social activity in which the senses and the sensorial features of objects are the main focus of the participants. Tasting sessions are an activity in which participants do not merely eat (Mondada in press, Fele 2019), do not just taste (without having to verbally express a judgment, contrary to other settings, Mondada 2021), but taste in order to precisely describe what they sense (Liberman 2013, 2018, Mondada 2020, 2022, in press, Mondada & Fele 2020), using specific repertoires of descriptors. Thus, the activity crucially articulates sensations and their linguistic expression. However, this activity is more than just the association of a sensing body and some language. It is a practical situated achievement that relies on a specific understanding of what sensoriality is, its relation to language and, crucially, its relation to culture, expertise, and institutionality — represented by the use of a range of semiotic and lexical tools (such as the Aroma wheel). These tools constrain the expression of sensoriality and authorize some descriptions, while discrediting others. In this way the senses are normatively disciplined. This paper shows how the body, materiality, language, and normative constrains are practically managed and bodily aligned by the participants of tasting sessions. In this way, it provides for an account of the sociality of the senses that does not rely on a global deterministic sociological account but on the subtle ways in which the senses are normatively disciplined within situated occasions of sensing.
We will discuss in the workshop the following text:
Chapter 1: “From the Senses to Sensing in Interaction”, p. 3-61, in Mondada, Lorenza (2021): Sensing in Social Interaction. The Tase for Cheese in Gourmet Shops. Cambridge University Press.