Mushrooms, knowledge exchange and polytemporality in Kalloni, Greek Macedonia

Daniel M. Knight*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-201
Number of pages19
JournalFood, Culture and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Embodiment
  • Food
  • Greece
  • Memory
  • Polytemporality


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