Accepted paper:

Practices and discourses on the "Mediterranean Diet": food, foodways and heritage in Tavira (Portugal)


Joana Lucas (CRIA / NOVA FCSH)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will focus on the "Mediterranean Diet" as a heritage object and discuss how different discourses are mobilized vis-à-vis the idea of a Mediterranean identity activated through food consumption, questioning alongside local food practices in a post-heritagization context.

Paper long abstract:

The inscription of the "Mediterranean Diet" as intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO (2013) is the starting point for a reflection on food, identity and belonging trigged by this process of heritagization and its most immediate effects: the use of the "Mediterranean Diet" as a touristic product, and the uses that diverse social actors make of the discourse of this food heritagization. Focussing on Tavira, the representative city of the Portuguese application, this communication aims to discuss, through an ethnographic research, some questions raised by institutional discourses in the post-heritagization scenario of the "Mediterranean Diet", but also intends to discuss local discourses and practices on food consumption, its ruptures and continuities. The first question that we are interested in discuss concerns how the sense of belonging to a Mediterranean universe and to a Mediterranean identity is activated through a supposed food communion shared between seven countries (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Cyprus and Croatia), and how the expression of an institutional speech praising the idea of a Mediterranean belonging is managed in a country with an essentially Atlantic geography as Portugal. In second place we are interested in discussing how local populations engage or disengage the Mediterranean discourse, and how they incorporate or not the "mediterranean" ingredients and food practices in their daily consumptions, appropriating or rejecting the identity 'markers' of the "Mediterranean Diet" as the importance of seasonality of food, or valuing food itinerary from the origin to the table.

panel Food02
Food for thought (and dwelling) in uncertain times