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Food, place-making and belonging among first generation south-east asian women in the UK

Sorte, Rossella (2018) Food, place-making and belonging among first generation south-east asian women in the UK. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

The thesis is an ethnographic study which explores the connection between food, place-making and belonging of first generation South-East Asian women in the UK. The objectives of the study are to document place-making through the retaining, adoption and transformation of daily food practices, and to develop appropriate methodology for the empirical analysis of these topics. The study is divided in two phases. In the first I employed 9 interviews and a thematic analysis (Braun and Clarke, 2006), along with participant observation and fieldnotes. In the second through a participatory-led approach I have extended the traditional ethnography in creative and sensorial methodologies. I conducted two participative ethnographies in (semi)public spaces. One is a sitting ethnography in a common room of a university in Manchester, where 4 women and I celebrate traditional festivals, whilst another is a walking ethnography at Kirkgate market in Leeds. The findings of the thematic analysis highlighted the disruptions that the women faced when coming to the UK and the impact on their wellbeing. Participatory ethnographies captured how the women created spaces of comfort in the UK. The creolization of meals, traditions, and diets was strategic to women to survive and create new meanings of home abroad. The thesis makes an interdisciplinary contribution to knowledge in the areas of place and food studies, health and community psychology, and migration. Furthermore, it makes a novel contribution with the development of the ‘tablographies’, a method consisting in the observation of food tables settling, which describe how the women embody place and stretch out the boundaries of the home beyond national and ethnic spatial configurations. Tablographies show great potentials for their applicability in the areas of urban planning, community and health psychology.

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