The route of the land’s roots: connecting life-worlds between Guinea-Bissau and Portugal through food-related meanings and practices

Abranches, Maria (2013) The route of the land’s roots: connecting life-worlds between Guinea-Bissau and Portugal through food-related meanings and practices. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Focusing on migration from Guinea-Bissau to Portugal, this thesis examines the role played by food and plants that grow in Guinean land in connecting life-worlds in both places. Using a phenomenological approach to transnationalism and multi-sited ethnography, I explore different ways in which local experiences related to food production, consumption and exchange in the two countries, as well as local meanings of foods and plants, are connected at a transnational level. One of my key objectives is to deconstruct some of the binaries commonly addressed in the literature, such as global processes and local lives, modernity and tradition or competition and solidarity, and to demonstrate how they are all contextually and relationally entwined in people’s life-worlds. In order to do so I trace Guinean foodstuffs and plants from their origin sites in Guinea-Bissau to their final destination in Portugal. I examine, first, the significance of the Guinean land where they grow. Second, I look at the adaptations that take place in Guineans’ relationship with that land when it ‘travels’ – through its food and plants – to Portugal. Third, I explore food-related ways in which the past, present and future of a Guinean life-world that is ‘disrupted’ by migration are brought together through memory practices and future projects of migration and return. Finally, I examine practices of food exchange as gifts and trade across borders. By starting with production and ending with exchange practices, this thesis emphasises that both are not necessarily alienated from each other, even when they are physically distanced by migration. The unique relationships they generate and the role played by Guinean land’s special properties, as well as the fact that these are able to travel, through the food and plants that share its substance, to Portugal, enable Guineans’ local life-worlds to be connected in a transnational context.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Anthropology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology > GN301 Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology > GN357 Culture and cultural processes Including social change, structuralism, diffusion, etc.
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 19 Jun 2013 13:42
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2015 12:23

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