Making sense of food: food infrastructures in migrant communities

Fanqi Liu1

1School of Geography, the University Of Melbourne


Food(stuff) is often connected with identities; eating makes worlds. In multicultural societies, food has been used as a signifier in transnational connections that span contemporary life in a globalised urban context. Food permeates into aspects of life, juxtaposing the individual and the social, the local and the global, taking us into a powerful system of materialities, values, beliefs and regulations (Mol 2014; Probyn 2000; Appadurai 1981). Through ‘Following food’ (Cook et al. 2006), this paper conceptualises ‘food infrastructures’ by developing attunements to the materialities and multi-sensory ambience of the everyday dimensions of infrastructure. I consider food infrastructure as assemblages of bodies, spaces, and materialities that circulate food and enable eating practices to be thought, ascribed and made possible.

Methodologically, this paper uses an ethnographical approach of following recipes within migrant communities in Melbourne. Recipes link ingredients, technologies, skills, memories, events, movement, and bodies, articulating diverse connections and practices within ‘home-city geographies’ (Blunt and Sheringham 2018). This paper reveals diverse forms of migrant gastronomy and emerging sensibility of food and place. Through examining ways that migrant communities connect to and reshape food infrastructures in a more situated way, it pushes forward the conceptualisation of infrastructure as theory and method in geography.


PhD student in urban geography


The Institute of Australian Geographers (IAG) is the principal body representing geographers and promoting the study and application of geography in Australia. It was founded in 1958 and since then has promoted, supported and defended Australian geography.

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