From Chinese Herbs to Functional Food: a Study of the Category Revolution of Food and Drug by a Biography of Four-agent Soup

Author Info
Chin-Chih An
Doctoral student, Department of Sociology, National Taiwan University

This article discusses the biography of four agent soup(Si Wu Tang) transferring into four agent functional foods from the perspectives of Marx and Appadurai. This paper emphasizes the importance of "the historicity of objects" in the transformation of four agent soup. The analysis assumes that objects are the synthesis of social relations in history and emphasizes the distinction between the representative form and the substance of an object. The emerging category of "Functional Food" is revolutionary to the existing classification of food, drug, and healthy food, which ignores lay people's attitude and practices of ‘food as medicine’. The interaction between the government authorities, corporations, consumers, and the materiality of objects delineates the historicity of these objects and transforms the Chinese herbs into functional food. The transformation of Chinese herbs into functional food discloses the rigidity and unsoundness of the authoritative classification of food, drug and healthy food, and it highlights the flexibility and hybridity in Taiwan.This article discusses the biography of four agent soup transferring into four agent functional foods from  the perspectives of Marx and Appadurai. This paper emphasizes the importance of "the historicity of objects" in the transformation of four agent soup. The analysis assumes that objects are the synthesis of social relations in history and emphasizes the distinction between the representative form and the substanceof an object The emerging category of "Functional Food" is revolutionary to the existing classification of food, drug, and healthy food, which  ignores lay people's attitude and practices of ‘food as medicine .’ The  interaction between the government, corporations, consumers delineates the historicity of this objects and transforms the Chinese herbs into functional food. The transform of  Chinese herbs into  functional food discloses the rigidity and unsoundness of the authoritative classification of food, drug and healthy food, and it highlights the flexibility and hybridity in Taiwan.

Citation: 
《科技、醫療與社會》,第11期,2010年10月出版