Food, Drink and Identity in Europe

By Thomas M. Wilson | Go to book overview
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F. Xavier Medina


The specificity of the anthropological perspective as Mary Douglas
points out is to examine the consumption of alcohol as a way of
life, one element of a given culture. In this sense, alcohol and wine
consumption are clearly social manifestations. It is the aim of this
paper to analyze the role of wine as a drink and as a social element in
the Basque diaspora, and particularly among Basque people living in
the region of Catalonia (in the Northeast of the Iberian Peninsula,
bordering France) and more specifically in the urban context of Bar-
celona city and its surrounding area. In this urban/migratory context,
wine provides to Basque people living in Barcelona a particular form
of relationship, but also a very important way of performing identity.
Basque eating and drinking are actually contributing to showing
'Other' people in Catalonia Catalan or not, migrants or tourists
how and why Basque identity is different, and how and why Basque
culture is different.


As an integrating part of the general frame of food behaviour patterns, wine consumption has, no doubt, an outstanding social significance. A wide number of varying factors and beliefs are closely linked to a social and moral construction about alcohol, and to the specific transmission of the values which are created and developed around it. This article intends to analyse the role of wine as an instrument of social relations and ethnicity in the Basque diaspora, and special attention will be paid to the Basque people who live in Catalonia and more specifically, in the city of


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