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Accepted Paper:

In search of solid ground: creating consubstantiality through food and intimacy  
Luciana Lang (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

This paper looks at the stories and aspirations of unemployed and low-waged migrant workers in Manchester, UK. Through a small-scale, qualitative study in collaboration with a local migrant support organisation, it taps into the challenges of making a living in precarious times.

Paper long abstract:

Among unemployed and low-waged migrant workers in Manchester, UK, having access to affordable housing and to food can be a challenging pursuit, and one that makes people experience precarity on an everyday basis. A local food distribution centre and education charity in the north of the city provides an opportunity for people to share their trajectories and ordeals. For many of them, the centre is the only place where they feel they can participate in social life in Britain, but most importantly, some of the activities they engage in while at the centre, such as gardening, socialising and eating together, foster a sense of belonging and create the possibility of intimacy. Food is grown in the garden, cooked in the kitchen, and talked about over a cup of tea, while people’s stories and trajectories get interwoven with recipes from the places they left behind. This paper draws on fieldwork undertaken at the centre and on interviews with some of its regular visitors to argue that the sharing of substances and of activities in a collective space nurtures the common humanity in a highly complex and diverse environment.

Panel P079
Postfordist ethnoscapes: deindustrialization, work and unemployment in urban context
  Session 1