How is food changing in Paris?
How has globalization and immigration changed food trends in Paris? Where does one find an “authentic” french meal or travel for an “exotic” dinner?
Are hipsters really ruining Paris by erasing the city’s distinctiveness?
Or as Adam Gopnik suggests, is Le Fooding a threat to the traditional Michelin guide to dining? Michelin rated restaurants have historically been associated with status and distinction. Does eating at highly rated restaurants increase our own cultural capital? Sociologists emphasize that taste is a social construction so how does cultural capital inform our taste?
French food has always been diverse with important regional differences but, is the historical diversity of Paris from Africa, South Asia, China and Vietnam adding more cultural and dining options in the city? Can these new ethnic foods have the status of French food? Will students enjoy French Lebanese food over “authentic” Parisian food or will they opt for French McDonalds? Spending time in Paris may shape some of their own ethnocentric understandings of ethnic cuisines.
These are a few issues my students plan to explore while they are in Paris for Sociology 390 as we sample French cheese, Lebanese hummus and shawarma, Parisian financiers, brioche and macaron, and Algerian tagines when we’re there!