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Street food and the art of survival: migrants and places in Delhi, India
Published in Taylor and Francis Ltd.
Volume: 24
Issue: 1
Pages: 142 - 155
The modernist conception of urban order is predicated on state regulation of city spaces and social practices. Street food vending disrupts this idealized order and is therefore denounced by state officials and the bourgeois public. Hamstrung by this hostile discursive field and their own lack of symbolic capital, how do food vendors manage to maneuver their way through an inhospitable city? In this paper, I use ethnographic vignettes from two neighborhoods in Delhi to argue that street vendors and city spaces should not be treated as homogeneous categories; differences among vendors and between urban settings are crucial for explaining heterogeneous survival strategies. These differences relate to ethnic identities derived from diverse histories of migration, as well as to the variegated layout, land use and legal geographies of spaces in the city. I conclude by showing that negotiations over food vending now occur not only on the street, but also through the virtual world of food blogs and videos. By representing street food as a valued part of city culture, the internet has emerged as a new space where the claims of street vendors acquire greater legitimacy in the public sphere.
About the journal
JournalData powered by TypesetFood, Culture and Society
PublisherData powered by TypesetTaylor and Francis Ltd.
Open AccessNo