The Whiteness of French Food. Law, Race, and Eating Culture in France

French Politics, Culture, and Society, 2021, Vol.39(2), pp.26-52

27 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2021 Last revised: 15 Dec 2021

See all articles by Mathilde Cohen

Mathilde Cohen

University of Connecticut - School of Law

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

Food is fundamental to French identity. So too is the denial of structural racism and racial identity. Both tenets are central to the nation’s self-definition, making them all the more important to think about together. This article purports to identify and critique a form of French food Whiteness (blanchité alimentaire), that is, the use of food and eating practices to reify and reinforce Whiteness as the dominant racial identity. To do so, it develops four case studies of how law elevates a fiction of homogeneous French/White food as superior and normative at the expense of alternative ways of eating and their eaters—the law of geographical indications, school lunches, citizenship, and cultural heritage.

Keywords: citizenship, colonial foods, couscous, Critical Whiteness Studies, food law, French food and cuisine, gastronomic meal of the French, geographical indications, race, school lunches, UNESCO, Whiteness

JEL Classification: I00, K00, K32, K37, Q1

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Mathilde, The Whiteness of French Food. Law, Race, and Eating Culture in France (2021). French Politics, Culture, and Society, 2021, Vol.39(2), pp.26-52, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3819684 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3819684

Mathilde Cohen (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut - School of Law ( email )

65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States

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