On Things Left Undone: Constructing a Genealogy of The Word Bourgeois, Among Others

There are many things which I left incomplete or did not attempt. Of crucial importance is constructing (or trying to at least) a genealogy of the word bourgeois. It would have helped me figure out the question of scale because during one of the interviews, the interviewee says, “But, you know, the upper elite, you should check out what they eat”.

Two things were of crucial importance to me. One was the fact that the word bourgeois did not signify the upper elite, and second was the phrase, “you know”. The phrase “you know” is very telling here because the person theirself belongs to an elite background. The use of this phrase was, as I understand, two-fold. One, to shift the focus from their consumption habits to the upper elite, and second, to signify the normality/ethicalness of what they consume through contrasting it with what the upper elite consumes, and concomitantly by appealing to an affinity with me in regards to our sensibilities regarding the upper elite and their extravagance.

Also, I recognize now that I had set up a paradoxical task for myself. I aimed for the definition of bourgie food to be as expansive as possible all the while forgetting that definitions, by their very definition (pun intended), demarcate. They exclude and leave behind. This is partly the reason why I had trouble with working out an answer for the question of scale. I did not want to be limited, and it was this naïve and idealistic belief of mine, ke sab ke liye kafi ho, that made it impossible to answer the question of scale. Maybe now I can, but I won’t be happy with it because it will not be the lowest possible denominator. At the very least I do not wish to be accused of hypocrisy. Being called a heartless bastard is fine.