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Travelling People, Travelling Plants: An Exploration into Food-Plant Practice among Bengali Women across Transnational and Generational Landscapes

Jennings, HM; (2014) Travelling People, Travelling Plants: An Exploration into Food-Plant Practice among Bengali Women across Transnational and Generational Landscapes. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

The flow of people between urban Britain and rural Bangladesh is longstanding and continuous. In addition to people; food, plants and seeds are transported between the countries. The exchanges are both practical and highly symbolic processes and while transnational in nature have a significant impact at a local level in both places. The PhD thesis explores the nature of food and plant exchange between Sylhet (Northeastern Bangladesh) and the UK among women at a household level, how these transnational exchanges impact on the food-scape and medicinal plant knowledge in each place and how differences are played out across generations. The PhD adopted a mixed methods approach (participant observation, interviews, focus groups and questionnaires) with research conducted in Cardiff, London and Sylhet among two generations of Bengali women. Research into ethnobotanical practices of migrant communities in industrialised countries has found a rich and distinct body of knowledge. However, among the substantial and well-established UK Bengali population there is a lack of research on ethnobotanical medicinal knowledge. Furthermore how they are influenced by on-going links with Bangladesh is unknown. The therapeutic use of plants among Bengalis exposes a significant overlap between food and medicine, this is an area largely ignored in public health, medical and food studies of Bengalis in the UK. This thesis builds on previous research and begins to address some of the gaps in literature. The research it presents indicates that the Bengali community in the UK remains connected to their place of origin (Sylhet), not least through the exchange of food and plants, however what these food and plants mean vary according to place and generation. If academics and professionals are to understand therapeutic food-plant use among diaspora it is essential to look at the existing links with 'home' countries and changes in knowledge and practice across generations and ages. The implications of this research are important for ethnobotany, migrant and international health studies, public health and food studies.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Travelling People, Travelling Plants: An Exploration into Food-Plant Practice among Bengali Women across Transnational and Generational Landscapes
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1417572
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