A Taste of Home?: Food, Identity and Belonging among Brazilians in London

  • Brightwell, Graca (PI)

Project: Research

Project Details


This project investigates the role food plays in constituting diasporic and migrant cultures in a contemporary transnational setting. It brings a focus to food and its cultural geographies by examining the ways that diasporic communities forge networks of distribution and the role of homesickness in shaping tastes in consumer societies. It also adds food (as material and immaterial culture) to diasporic geographies by highlighting the importance of food practices for migrant identities and sense of belonging. Through an investigation of food practices among Brazilians in London this research also contributes to an understanding of how this recent, numerous but under researched South American group experience migration in an everyday basis in London. The investigation undertaken includes desk research on food provision systems, semi-structured interviews and documentary field research with Brazilian food providers across London, focus group discussions with Brazilian migrants, periods of observational research in case study shop and restaurant outlets, and ethnographic domestic research with case study Brazilian households in Harlesden, Brent (an area of London with marked Brazilian immigration over the last decade). My analysis considers ‘Brazilianess’ as a category and cultural-culinary form being made and contested in London. An overview of the dynamics of Brazilian food provision in London shows that this making and contesting operates through both the material culture of food provision and the social lives of public spaces such as restaurants, cafes and grocery shops. Central to the construction of this ‘Brazilianess’ is the disconnections from, and reconnections to, Brazil in terms of food provision system’s relations to Brazil, ingredients and chefs, and food’s ability to take one back home though memory processes. Brazilian food consumption thus operates in a number of different registers linked to practicality, emotion and ethnic identification. A closer look at public Brazilian food consumption spaces reveals how such places create collective migrant spaces of belonging by translocalizing Brazilian life. In such spaces ‘Brazilianess’ is also remade, contested and new boundaries are drawn, including the regionalization of cuisines. In the domestic settings, food narratives and observation helps to reveal the materialities and practices of migrant home making in mixed households and to show the processes through which consumption practices are negotiated and contested by different household members.
Effective start/end date24/09/097/11/11

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities