Behind Hummus Wars: The Role of the Food in National Identity in the Middle East


  • Ozge Copuroglu Yeditepe University



Zazalar, Zazaca, kimlik, milliyeçilik, Dersim


Food is an essential part of our everyday lives and it is significantly important for international politics as for national identities. The future of food is widely discussed in political and social sciences in the contexts of food security, health, international marketing cultural identities, and migratory issues. Despite the growing importance of food studies, the enduring power of nationalism and the apparent relationship between food culture and national identity, writers on nationalism have made little reference to food in their research. This article aims to explore the connection between food and nationalism and I argue that food plays a central role in performing the nation's culture and expresses the idea of the nation through portraying spiritual, material and commercial aspects of the national identity. Here, the discussion will proceed through a well – known Middle Eastern food, Hummus.


Almog, O. (2000). The Sabra, The Creation of the New Jew. University of California Press.

Ariel, A. (2012). The Hummus Wars. Gastronomica, 12(1).

Avieli, N. (2016). The Hummus Wars Revisited: Israeli-Arab Food Politics and Gastromediation. Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies, 16(3), 19–30.

Avieli, N., & Grosglik, R. (2013). Food and Power in the Middle East and the Mediterranean: Practical Concerns, Theoretical Considerations. Food, Culture & Society, 16(2), 181–195.

Bell, D., & Valentine, G. (1997). Consuming Geographies: We are where We Eat. Routledge.

Benvenisti, M. (2000). Sacred Landscape: The Buried History of the Holy Land Since 1948. University of California Press.

Billig, M. (1995). Banal Nationalism. Sage Publications.

Dreyfus, H., & Rabinow, P. (1982). Michel Foucault : Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. University of Chicago Press.

Edensor, T. (2002). National Identity, Popular Culture and Everyday Life. Oxford: Berg Publishers.

Foucault, M. (1972). Folie et Déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique. Editions Gallimard.

Fox, J. E., & Miller-Idriss, C. (2008). Everyday nationhood. Sage Publications, 8(4), 536–576.

Gvion, L. (2009). Narrating Modernity and Tradition: The Case of Palestinian Food in Israel. Taylor and Francis Online, 16(4). 10.1080/10702890903020869

Hirsh, D. (2011). “Hummus is best when it is fresh and made by Arabs”: The gourmetization of hummus in Israel and the return of the repressed Arab. American Anthropological Association, 38(4), 617–630.

Ichijo, A., & Ranta, R. (2016). Food, national identity and nationalism: From everyday to global politics. UK: Palgrave Macmillan UK.

Ichijo, A., & Ranta, R. (2018). Yemek ve Ulusal Kimlik Gündelik Yaşamdan Küresel Siyasete. İstanbul: Ayrıntı.

Laqueur, W. (2003). A History of Zionism.

Ram, U. (2011). Israeli Nationalism: Social Conflicts and the Politics of Knowledge. Abingdon: Routledge.

Ranta, R., & Mendel, Y. (2014). Consuming Palestine: Palestine and Palestinians in Israeli food culture. Ethnicities, 14(3), 412–435.

Roden, C. (2011). The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York. Alfred A. Knopf; Later prt. edition.

The Economist (2002). Food as ambassador, Thailand’s gastro-diplomacy.



How to Cite

Copuroglu, O. (2018). Behind Hummus Wars: The Role of the Food in National Identity in the Middle East. Transnational Marketing Journal, 6(2), 121-137.