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Feeding the City

Sara Roncaglia


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1This book is the product of a dual research effort: its subject matter was the topic of my PhD in Political, Social and Psychological Sciences at Genoa University under the supervision of Marco Aime, Professor in Cultural Anthropology; it was also one of the issues addressed by a collective research project I was involved in, called Diversities: A Project On People and Institutions, sponsored by ENI’s Enrico Mattei Foundation (FEEM), and carried out under the scientific supervision of Giulio Sapelli, Professor of Economic History.

2I would like to thank ENI’s Enrico Mattei Foundation and Professor Giulio Sapelli for supporting my research in India; Professor Marco Aime for letting me work freely on my own research project; the Human Sciences Research Methodology PhD teaching collegium at the University of Genoa’s Faculty of Education Sciences; Professor Pinuccia Caracchi and, particularly, Professor Alessandra Consolaro, for sharing their profound knowledge of India with me; Professor Giorgio Solinas for the thought-provoking discussion during our PhD evaluation session; and lastly, Professor Giuliano Boccali. My thanks also to Carlo Petrini and Federica Tomatis for letting me know that Raghunath Medge and Gangaram Talekar, President and Secretary of the Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust, would be attending the 2006 “Terra Madre” event in Turin, thus providing me with the opportunity to meet them. My special thanks to all the dabbawalas who were patient enough to talk freely with me during our interviews.

3I would never have been able to carry out this research without the help of many different people: I would like to thank Francesca Caccamo for translating my words into Hindi during interviews with non-English-speaking local informants; Usman Sheikh for interview transcriptions; Rebecca and Kenneth David for hosting me during my first stay in Mumbai; Shailindra Kaul and Abjijeet Sandhu for their whimsical yet important friendship; Sandy; Kalpana; Chiara Longo and her husband Sebastien Bastard for their hospitality during my second stay in Mumbai; Clara; Meena Menon; and the Annapurna Association. I would also like to thank Professor Roberta Garruccio, who—after reading and supervising my final dissertation at Milan University several years ago—also offered to comment on my doctoral dissertation. I am particularly grateful to the late Armando Marchi, head of Barilla-Lab, whom I remember fondly for the stimulating food industry research he allowed me to conduct at Barilla. My heartfelt thanks go to Daniele Cologna for all the advice that has been forthcoming over the years, accompanying my intellectual evolution.

4I would like to thank Alessandra Tosi and Open Book Publishers for including my book into their catalogue, and my editors Corin Thorsby and Bérénice Guyot-Réchard for their comments and intellectual advice. My heartfelt thanks to Ishan Mukherjee, wishing him all the best for his studies. Finally, I would like to thank my translator Angela Arnone, with whom a close relationship developed as we debated the most appropriate route for rendering my research and ideas for the English-speaking reader.

5This work is dedicated to Kenneth David, killed tragically in a fatal plane crash while I was in Mumbai.

6And to my loved ones.


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