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Accepted Paper:

Eating and feeling at home. Gender and socialisation in the culinary practices of Pakistani migrants in Trieste (Italy).  
Lucia Gentile (Trieste University)

Paper short abstract:

For people with a migration background, food has a significant symbolic value in the process of reconstructing one's own home. Exploring the link between body, food and gender, the paper analyses the embodied experience and socialisation of Pakistani migrants currently living in Trieste (Italy).

Paper long abstract:

For people with a migration background, food has a significant symbolic value in the process of reconstructing one's own home. Beyond the physiological need, cooking and eating certain dishes is a way to make one's home mobile, to create new bonds with other compatriots, to share one's history and to become familiar with the new place of 'arrival'. Talking about 'home food' allows to explore the transformations of the sense of belonging, of the construction of identity and community within the host society. Exploring the link between body and food, the paper analyses the embodied experience of Pakistani migrants, currently living in Trieste (Italy). Mostly men, none of them have ever cooked in their place of origin, but they have all learned along the migration path how to prepare Pakistani dishes. The research shows how socialisation is built around food: the Pakistani bar and Asian grocery shops are a meeting place for exchange and for creating bonds. Home cooked meals are always shared, to get together during work breaks and to strengthen ties. The paper has a double purpose. Firstly, it explores how migration influences the gender divisions of culinary work, and how this transforms the relationship with food and the embodied experience of eating. Secondly, the paper explores meals as a moment of socialisation and food preparation as a reconstruction of a sense of home. How does the link with 'home food' change during the migration process?

Panel P134b
Food, Refugees and Asylum seekers. Between (in)security and agency: ethnographic studies from European urban and rural settings and border areas
  Session 1 Friday 29 July, 2022, -