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Identity Ambivalence among the Eurasian Macanese: Historical Dynamics, Political Regimes and Eating Practices

Ambivalences identitaires des macanais euro-asiatiques : dynamique historique, régimes politiques et pratiques alimentaires

A Identidade ambivalente dos macaenses euro-asiáticos: Dinâmicas históricas, regimes políticos e práticas alimentares

In: Lusotopie
Author:
Marisa C. Gaspar SOCIUS/CSG – Research Centre in Economic and Organizational Sociology Lisbon School of Economics & Management (ISEG) Portugal

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Abstract

This article focuses on the case study of an ethnically and culturally mixed Eurasian Macanese community through their phenomenological experience of identity ambivalence. Our thematic framework includes the structural impact of colonial and postcolonial political regimes in Macao, historical influences on contemporary identity and sociocultural expressions of creolisation. It is argued that the Macanese people illustrate the memory of the ambivalent encounter between the two extremities of the Eurasia (China and Portugal) which started in the 16th-c. and never ceased moving forces to the present day. Furthermore, in the context of fieldwork with the Macanese community in Portugal, an ethnographic approach helps reveal the ambivalent dynamics of similarities and differentiation with respect to food practices and commensality as expressed over dinner by a group of close friends in Lisbon.

Résumé

Cet article présente une étude de cas des macanais euro-asiatiques – ethniquement et culturellement métissés – du point de vue de l’expérience phénoménologique résultant de leur identité ambivalente. Les questions traitées ici englobent les forces structurelles des régimes politiques coloniaux et post-coloniaux à Macao, les influences historiques sur les identités contemporaines et les expressions socioculturelles de la créolisation. On fait valoir que les macanais représentent la mémoire d’une rencontre ambivalente entre les deux extrémités de l’Eurasie (Chine et Portugal) qui depuis le XVIe s. jusqu’à nos jours n’ont jamais cessé de mesurer leurs forces. Dans le cadre d’une enquête de terrain menée auprès de la communauté macanaise au Portugal, l’approche ethnographique a aussi permis de révéler les dynamiques ambivalentes de similarité et de différence en matière de commensalité et de pratiques alimentaires exprimées par un groupe d’amis proches lors d’un dîner à Lisbonne.

Resumo

Este artigo analisa o estudo de caso dos macaenses euro-asiáticos – indivíduos étnica e culturalmente mestiços – do ponto de vista da experiência fenomenológica resultante da sua identidade ambivalente. As temáticas aqui exploradas abrangem as forças estruturais dos regimes políticos coloniais e pós-coloniais em Macao, as influências históricas sobre as identidades contemporâneas e as expressões socioculturais da crioulização. É argumentado que os macaenses representam a memória de um encontro ambivalente entre os dois extremos da Eurásia (China e Portugal), um processo com início no século XVI e que nunca parou de medir forças até aos dias de hoje. Adotou-se ainda uma perspetiva etnográfica para abordar o conjunto de dinâmicas ambivalentes de semelhança e diferença em relação às práticas alimentares e de comensalidade, expressas por um grupo de amigos íntimos no decorrer de um jantar em Lisboa.

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