'Merguez Capitale': Cosmopolitan Branding, Colonial Heritage and Local Flavour in Marseille

SAGE Publications (UK and US)
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Journal Article
French Cultural Studies, 2015, 26 (2), pp. 231 - 243
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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 Pieds-Noirs 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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