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Food and PowerA Culinary Ethnography of Israel$
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Nir Avieli

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520290099

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520290099.001.0001

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Thai Migrant Workers and the Dog-Eating Myth

Thai Migrant Workers and the Dog-Eating Myth

(p.178) Six Thai Migrant Workers and the Dog-Eating Myth
Food and Power

Nir Avieli

University of California Press

This chapter studies the prevailing total social fact that the Thai migrant workers who make for the bulk of the agricultural workforce in Israel systematically hunt and eat Israeli pet dogs. Despite extensive media accusations and widespread public consensus regarding the Thai penchant for Israeli dogs, ethnographic research reveals that Thai migrant workers do not hunt or eat dogs in Israel or in Thailand. The chapter argues that Israel's constituting socialist ethos conflicts deeply with the notion of migrant labor, especially when it comes to agriculture in the “working settlements”—kibbutzim and moshavim—that are the iconic manifestations of socialist Zionism. The chapter shows how this culinary myth defines a particular kind of negative exoticism that facilitated the dehumanization of the Thai migrant workers and justified their ongoing exploitation.

Keywords:   Thai migrant workers, agricultural workforce, Israeli dogs, socialist ethos, migrant labor, kibbutzim, moshavim, Zionism, dehumanization

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