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Accepted Paper:

Food and hospitality in receiving Ukrainian refugees in Poland 2022  
Dorota Rancew-Sikora (University of Gdansk) Agata Bachórz (University of Gdańsk)

Paper short abstract:

I will consider the functioning of the concept of hospitality in the Polish discourse focused on food-related practices during the arrival of Ukrainian refugees. Since hospitality was considered lost until recently in Poland, now the participants expect it to end and are trying to guess how.

Paper long abstract:

With the arrival of two million refugees in Poland in March 2022, food appeared as an essential element of the new situation in many respects: as a way to show and build solidarity, communicate hope and regain partial control over the dramatic situation of war. It was prepared and offered on both sides of Ukrainian-Polish relations. Firstly, as a gift that saved the lives of Ukrainian refugees after they fled from Ukraine, and secondly, as a skill given to Polish consumers by refugees. Food handmade by Ukrainian women is well known and highly valued in Poland, and in this situation, ordering and buying it helped refugees to break out of the position of total dependence and despair.

On the theoretical level, I will consider the functioning of the concept of hospitality in the Polish discourse focused on those food-related practices, which until recently, were considered both very important in Poland and lost as a result of commercialization and individualization processes. Currently, the participants of the discourse share not only surprise and deep satisfaction that unexpectedly and suddenly hospitality has become a reality and the object of collective pride in Poland again, but also the conviction and guesswork about when and how it will end, and Poles will return to their normal state of national prejudices, distrust and closure in private circles.

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, -