MMM11
Interdisiciplinary perspectives on identity, food and wellbeing of migrants

Convenors:
Sarah Keeler (University of Kent)
Location:
University Place 4.210
Start time:
8 August, 2013 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

In the context of migration and globalisation, foodways are vital to migrants' identity and wellbeing in the face of movement.This panel draws on diverse approaches and case studies in exploring the link between foodways, health, and emotional wellbeing in the context of migration and globalisation.

Long abstract:

21st century conditions of migration and globalisation create hybridised forms of cultural consumption, simultaneously rendering forms of cultural 'otherness' salient. In the study of foodways, the old adage 'you are what you eat' raises interesting questions of identity and consumption in an age of globalisation. In this context - with processed foods ubiquitous, consumers deploying food habits as identity markers, popular interest in so-called 'super foods' and the healing properties of diet gaining mass attention - foodways are a vital means by which migrants maintain a sense of identity and wellbeing in the face of movement. Classical anthropology emphasised the ritual significance of foodstuffs, preparation and consumption, while material cultural studies highlight the affective qualities of foodways and materiality. More recently, ethno-medicine and ethno-pharmacology have drawn attention to the relationship between culture, food and nutrition in the context of globalisation and mass migrations. The intersection of these disciplines also underscores emotional states, mental wellbeing, and the broader relevance of foodways to recovery from - or continuation of - the trauma of and adaptation to displacement. Approaching food as 'polysemic' - social process, signifier of difference, ecological resource, sensory experience - this panel seeks to probe the boundaries of medical anthropology, ethno-pharmacology, nutrition, and migration studies in exploring the link between foodways, health, and emotional wellbeing in the context of migration and globalisation. Papers explore a wide range of ethnographic contexts, thematic and disciplinary intersections, addressing the relationship between food, identity, culture, physical and emotional wellbeing, and human mobility.