Sharing bread in the local Brussels vicinity

J.M.L. Kint

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


    Globalisation creates new horizons. The Norwegian anthropologist Fredrik Barth speaks of the way the global, with its transnationalism and transnational social movements, becomes the site of the beginning of 'in between' trans-border median spaces (Barth, 1994, p.11-32). Barth proposed to distinguish three levels of processes that evolve by themselves: a micro (or personal) level, a macro level (of 'state policies'), and a median level, where processes 'create collectivityand mobilize groups for diverse purposes by diverse means' (Barth 1994 cited in Leman et al., 2014). Looking at European continental countries, Habermas describes modern societies as 'post-secular'. He refers to a change in the public-private consciousness (Habermas, 2008). The implication of newcomer's beliefs and their visibility is, according to Habermas, challenging the modus vivendi in continental Europe that exists between citizenship and cultural- particular difference. This modus vivendi has been drastically questioned in recent years (Habermas 2008 cited in Leman et al., 2014). According to Baumann, 'multiculturalism is not a patchwork of five or ten fixed cultural identities, but an elastic web of crosscutting and always mutually situational, identifications' (Baumann 1999, p.118). Johan Leman and all put it: 'Immigration and mobility are giving rise to the possibility that individuals will exchange one identity for another, even though the boundary between two groups is maintained in terms of cultural difference. Crossing borders, real or imaginary, is part of an disincorporation and displacement of the identity issue. The borders may be rigid or fluid, but they are always changing, transforming and challenging the existence of fixed identities. The variety of ethnic-religious communities poses some challenges, such as adaptation to new cultures, loyalty to the practices of parents' (Leman 2014, p.12). We also subscribe to Brubakers point of view that 'what cognitive perspectives suggest in short, is that race, ethnicity, and nation are not entities in the world but ways of seeing the world' (Brubaker 2004 cited in Leman et al., p. 2014). As such, the coexistence of several identities of the migrant communities maintains a new hybrid identity. Ethnic identities are sustained by what Fredrik Barth called the maintenance of 'boundaries' or lines, which mark off one group from the other. These lines are not drawn by simple cultural difference but by social behaviour, which is relevant to the recognition of membership. Language is described as one major cultural marker. In this paper we focus our attention on food, and bread in particular, as relevant ethnic-cultural marker, besides dress, house-form or general style of life, amongst others (Barth, 1969, p. 14)
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTurkish Migration Conference 2015 Selected Proceedings
    EditorsG. Seker, A. Tilbe, M. Ökmen
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherTransnational Press London
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Print)978-1-910781-01-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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