At Home in the Restaurant: Familiarity, Belonging and Material Culture in Ecuadorian Restaurants in Madrid
Making and consuming food are evident aspects in migrants’ construction and reproduction of memory, identity and belonging. Food consumption can also enable migrants to make themselves at home abroad by reproducing aspects of their past and relating them to particular places in the present. This article draws from ethnographic work in Ecuadorian restaurants in Madrid to investigate the ‘domestication’ of space through their material culture. It examines the representation and use of these restaurants to unveil multiple ways of displaying belonging and reproducing degrees of domesticity. Enacting private routines, embodying familiarity through food and decorating backbars are instances that reveal how the material arrangements in migrant-run restaurants facilitate the construction of a sense of home. From a sociological perspective, this article reveals how the boundaries between private and public, as well as migrants’ ethnicity and belonging, are constantly reshaped through material arrangements that operate as forms of domestication of space.