The ritualisation of food, home and national identity among polish migrants in London

M. Rabikowska

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46 Citations (Scopus)
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In this paper a process of negotiating identity among Polish migrants will be discussed in relation to their food habits: consumption, preparation and celebration. Through the ethnographic examination of food rituals the construction of meaning of home as both space and nationality will be observed and the attitude to the host culture will be revealed in the quotidian activities. The qualitative research based on interviews and visual ethnography has shown that there are three dominant ways of exchange with the local culture ranging from the least present to the ostentatiously conspicuous, named here as: orthodox, porous, and alternate. Each of them, however, is characterised by a perplexing degree of fluidity and sometimes contradiction which opposes the objectification of the models of culture, as had been already noticed by Bhabha (2007[1994]) in relation to diasporic cultures and their tactics of adaptation. Home among Polish immigrants to the UK is a changing concept, open to negotiation, depending on their current personal situation, profession, gender, expectations, ambitions and even peer pressure. Yet (re)creating home requires a certain dose of familiarity conceived from the meaning of Polishness which needs to be materialised from past memories on a daily basis. This research shows that such process oscillates between acceptance and rejection recognisable in the acts of mundane rituals, gaining their significance from the emotional engagement of the participants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-398
Number of pages22
JournalSocial Identities
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2010


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