The Palestinian restaurant in Israel - a multi-sensory space for contradicting messages
(Ben Gurion University of the Negev)
Paper short abstract:
Palestinian home-food restaurants in Israel are multi-sensory socio-political spaces that on the one hand contain messages of homeliness and intimacy, while on the other hand messages of Palestinian nationalism that sometimes divide.
Paper long abstract:
One of the most well-known phenomena in Israel is the visit of Israeli Jews to restaurants in Palestinian villages within Israel (20% of Israel's citizens are Palestinian). In the proposed paper I argue that the Israeli-Palestinian restaurant provides a multi-sensory experience that contains contradictory socio-political messages. I will demonstrate how the messages conveyed through flavors and odors of the food are also reflected through the visual aspects of the restaurant - the design and the images on the wall. Allen Shelton (1990) argues that the restaurant space is similar to a theater where tastes, words and objects turn to codes of social structure. Pierre Bourdieu (1970) examines the reciprocal relations between private and public space. He argues that sociopolitical systems are replicated into the home; he suggests examining the connection between the design of the domestic space and the culture outside of it. In his view, a critical analysis of objects and images at home may give a glimpse into the array of power relations, both in the private and public spheres. I found that Palestinian home-food restaurants in Israel are multi-sensory socio-political spaces that on the one hand contain messages of homeliness and intimacy, while on the other hand messages of Palestinian nationalism that sometimes divide. These messages can be passed on to the Jewish diners by the Palestinian restaurateurs due to the unique characteristics of food. The discussion is based on findings from fieldwork conducted on 2013-2018 in two restaurants in a small Palestinian community in northern Israel.
Tracking changes in the city through food and the senses [P+W]