Chapter Five
On "Cabbages and Kings":
The Politics of Jewish
Identity in Post-Colonial
French Society and Cuisine

Joëlle Bahloul

The symbolic articulation of cultural, ethnic, religious, or socio-economic identity in food practices has been investigated widely in the social sciences for the last few decades. 1 The social and cultural processes that it generates take a global dimension when elaborated in the historical context of migration and decolonization. The late twentieth century's extensive globalization of food markets has, paradoxically, allowed migrants to transport their diet in their travels and to install it in the local socio-cultural context that hosts them, paradoxically in an era of dietary patterns made universal through the economic power of the multinational food industry. The ultimate result of this multi-directional mobility of food symbolism and ingredients has evolved in a double process: The globalization of dietary patterns has produced both the universalization of some particular practices and the particularization of universal practices.

In my view, the place of food in global history, especially as it relates to migration and ethnic identity, has to be explored through this inductive approach, that is, as constituting a wide-scale structural system of "groups of transformation" 2 or recurrent schemes of behavior found in different social contexts and in different "forms." The historical context of decolonization and the large-scale migrations it has triggered constitute an insightful example of this double-sided process. Identity is articulated here as a dual relation:

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