Conference contribution
How Do People Get Their Food in a Paris Mixed Neighborhood?
Food, Social class, Urban structure, Mobility, Paris, Daily life
How do people fix their basic needs in 21st-century Western urban societies? That is, how do they fix food, mobility, health, jobs, housing, education, and the like? In this paper, I focus on food and mobility - in other words, getting food. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork in Goutte d’Or, a mixed neighborhood in Paris, I argue that getting food is a matter of structure. This means, getting food is a structure made of constituent elements (i.e., knowledge, emotions, beliefs, values, attitudes, and behaviors), is shaped by elements of social structure (at the urban and national scales), and is differentiated across social categories (which are proper to urban and national stratification systems). I develop a framework for sociological research on fixing basic needs, and provide information on data collection and analysis. I demonstrate that poor people multiply foods and places: they get multiple foods by moving to multiple places. Working class people partition foods and places: they move to many places across working-class Paris and suburbs as means to get the food they want. Middle class people anchor food and places: they want to get local food in local places; yet, they cannot find everything that suit them in Goutte d’Or, so that they also end up moving to nearby middle-class places. Finally, I assess the context-boundedness and generalizability of these findings, and discuss how they speak to strands of scholarship in sociology, the social sciences, and health sciences, as well as to normative and policy issues.