Sending, Bringing, Consuming and Researching Food Parcels

  • Diana Mata-Codesal
  • Maria Abranches
Part of the Anthropology, Change, and Development book series (ACD)


This introductory chapter provides an overview of food-related meanings and practices in the context of international migration. Food parcels act as bridging items in contexts of physical separation and spatial discontinuity. They signal the desire to maintain or create specific group membership—to a family, social class, national origin or rural background—in a context of physical absence. Food parcels are strong markers of belonging and continuity in the geographical and social fragmentation introduced by international migration. The analysis of food parcels allows us to explore both the intimate and the structural aspects of sending and receiving food, and the ways in which these influence local and transnational changes. Opening up those carefully wrapped parcels of food being sent, brought, received, shared and consumed by migrants in a variety of locations worldwide is a sensuous ethnographic experience that allows us to explore family and kinship relations, while examining change and continuity in transnational migration.


Transnationalism Materiality Senses Belonging Intimacy 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diana Mata-Codesal
    • 1
  • Maria Abranches
    • 2
  1. 1.Pompeu Fabra UniversityBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.University of East AngliaNorwichUK

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