Alfonso De Silva

Pierre Bourdieu, food and change. Legitimising a «popular» dish – pizza – within the Paris restaurant space

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This article examines the symbolic re-enhancement of pizza within the Paris restaurant space. The methodological tools of relational sociology are used to jointly account for the structure of this space and its development. By integrating quantitative and qualitative methods, food provision in the retail restaurant industry is scrutinised – a topic that is still poorly investigated in sociology. Based on a district-by-district analysis, the homology between Parisian social space and restaurant space is demonstrated through factor analysis. This relationship is used to build the hierarchical structure of the positions and types of restaurants in the city’s restaurant space. The gastronomic field, at its zenith, is governed by great guide books and, in particular, by the Michelin guide, which holds the power to anoint the most legitimate restaurants. Interviews, observations, and other qualitative material are then used to explore the process of legitimising pizza and the struggles that are fought on the frontier of this field in order to subvert its symbolic order. «Gastronomic» pizza could indeed change the forces acting in the field, paving the way towards new career paths for chefs who crave the stars of the most prestigious guides


  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • quantitative-qualitative
  • food
  • gastronomic field
  • restaurants


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