'Merguez Capitale': The merguez sausage as a discursive construction of cosmopolitan branding, colonial memory and local flavour in Marseille

Publication Type:
Journal Article
French Cultural Studies, 2015, 26 (2), pp. 231 - 243
Issue Date:
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© The Author(s) 2015. Official cultural sectors increasingly deploy cosmopolitan branding efforts, based on the diversity of migrant populations, to market a city as attractive and open. These strategies, meanwhile, continue to coexist with attachments to place as well as a sense of local identification and belonging. In this paper I refer to the way food, and in particular the merguez sausage, is used as a marker to evoke both the cosmopolitan and the local specificities of the city of Marseille, once celebrated as the gateway to France's empire. This work examines cultural initiatives, city streets, film and published Pied-Noir testimonials to argue that the merguez, a spicy sausage associated with North African cuisine, is used as a discursive construction of cosmopolitan branding, attached to a colonial memory, notably Algerian, while coexisting with the formation of local specificities in Marseille.
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