Master of Arts (MA)
Geography & Environmental Studies
Faculty of Arts
Dr. Bob Sharpe
This study examining Egyptian migrants settling in Canada is exploratory in nature and is intended to initiate a conversation about the personal experience of transnationalism and the value of the body as an instrument of research. A semi-structured interview approach was designed to prompt the evocation of deep personal thoughts, experiences, and sensations in response to questions surrounding migration to Canada through the shared performative act of cooking and the visceral experience of eating in the private space of the migrant kitchen. Using a grounded theory approach, several adaptive mechanisms were identified such as the creation of manageable daily routines, the openness to new tastes, ideals, and experiences, and establishing a sense of community. Although migrants wish to embody experiences of ‘home’ in the host country, authenticity is willingly compromised in order to create a sense of comfort, or the feeling of being ‘at home’. Given the typical length of the interview process, the breadth and depth of the experiences covered and the details stirred up by the sensual experiences within the kitchen, I would argue that using the visceral realm accessed knowledge, experiences, sensations and moods that would not have been obtained through the traditional interview process. This study fills a gap in geographical literature by discussing the dynamic relationship between food, affect, embodiment, and the personal experience of transnationalism.
Neil, Mary, "Affective Migration: the role of food preparation and visceral experience for Egyptian migrant women settling in the Region of Waterloo" (2015). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 1724.