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The politics of food and hospitality : how Syrian refugees in Belgium create a home in hostile environments

(2017) JOURNAL OF REFUGEE STUDIES. 30(4). p.605-621
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Abstract
While eating practices fulfil a central role in expressing collective identities, they potentially turn into sites of contention when individuals are forced to migrate. By drawing upon semi-structured interviews and informal observations with Syrian refugees in Belgium, this article describes the politics of food and hospitality through which wider socio-political subjectivities are renegotiated. More precisely, I argue that three sets of meanings are crucial to understand the symbolic importance of food and hospitality, and the conditions under which it feeds into a series of micro-political struggles: (i) the power-infused relations between hosting and being hosted or between giving and receiving; (ii) a sense of individual autonomy and dignity; and (iii) the revitalization of collective selves. By putting these three sets of meanings into practice, Syrian refugees create intimate bubbles of homeliness that are often subversive to the hostile environment in which they find themselves.
Keywords
Forced migration, sociology of the senses, hospitality, Syrian refugees, anthropology of food, sociology of morality

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Vandevoordt, Robin. “The Politics of Food and Hospitality : How Syrian Refugees in Belgium Create a Home in Hostile Environments.” JOURNAL OF REFUGEE STUDIES, vol. 30, no. 4, 2017, pp. 605–21.
APA
Vandevoordt, R. (2017). The politics of food and hospitality : how Syrian refugees in Belgium create a home in hostile environments. JOURNAL OF REFUGEE STUDIES, 30(4), 605–621.
Chicago author-date
Vandevoordt, Robin. 2017. “The Politics of Food and Hospitality : How Syrian Refugees in Belgium Create a Home in Hostile Environments.” JOURNAL OF REFUGEE STUDIES 30 (4): 605–21.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Vandevoordt, Robin. 2017. “The Politics of Food and Hospitality : How Syrian Refugees in Belgium Create a Home in Hostile Environments.” JOURNAL OF REFUGEE STUDIES 30 (4): 605–621.
Vancouver
1.
Vandevoordt R. The politics of food and hospitality : how Syrian refugees in Belgium create a home in hostile environments. JOURNAL OF REFUGEE STUDIES. 2017;30(4):605–21.
IEEE
[1]
R. Vandevoordt, “The politics of food and hospitality : how Syrian refugees in Belgium create a home in hostile environments,” JOURNAL OF REFUGEE STUDIES, vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 605–621, 2017.
@article{8653071,
  abstract     = {{While eating practices fulfil a central role in expressing collective identities, they potentially turn into sites of contention when individuals are forced to migrate. By drawing upon semi-structured interviews and informal observations with Syrian refugees in Belgium, this article describes the politics of food and hospitality through which wider socio-political subjectivities are renegotiated. More precisely, I argue that three sets of meanings are crucial to understand the symbolic importance of food and hospitality, and the conditions under which it feeds into a series of micro-political struggles: (i) the power-infused relations between hosting and being hosted or between giving and receiving; (ii) a sense of individual autonomy and dignity; and (iii) the revitalization of collective selves. By putting these three sets of meanings into practice, Syrian refugees create intimate bubbles of homeliness that are often subversive to the hostile environment in which they find themselves.}},
  author       = {{Vandevoordt, Robin}},
  issn         = {{0951-6328}},
  journal      = {{JOURNAL OF REFUGEE STUDIES}},
  keywords     = {{Forced migration,sociology of the senses,hospitality,Syrian refugees,anthropology of food,sociology of morality}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{4}},
  pages        = {{605--621}},
  title        = {{The politics of food and hospitality : how Syrian refugees in Belgium create a home in hostile environments}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jrs/fex017}},
  volume       = {{30}},
  year         = {{2017}},
}

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