Organic hummus in Israel: Global and local ingredients and images

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11 Scopus citations


Hummus is an ancient traditional dish in Middle Eastern Cultures. In Israel it is one of the most common foods, appropriated as an icon of Israeli culture and nationality. Today, hummus is served in Israel in many restaurants, and is even distributed as a commercially packaged spread sold in supermarkets. Organic hummus - a recent version of the dish - is influenced by global trends of ethical and reflexive food consumption. Organic food is conceived as the spearhead opposing the consequences of globalization. It is customary to view it as representing locality, health, ecology and social justice. But it also embodies representations of globalism and westernism, mainly because of its integration in the global industrial system and its origin among the post-materialistic-social elite in western countries. This article deals with the encounter of the global and the local as embodied in organic hummus in Israel. Looking at the production, distribution, and consumption of this dish uncovers social and political layers embedded in it. I will argue that the global socio-economic conditions and ideas embedded in the concept of organic attached to hummus are the ones which allow - paradoxically - the imagined re-localization of the dish. Organic hummus in Israel is a dish steeped in paradoxical aspects, and therefore characterized by culinary-ideological-dissonance. Hummus is a dish that was perceived as representing rootedness, earthiness, and local simplicity, but nowadays, in its organic version, it wears an economic and symbolic framework of global values used by the Israeli westernizing elite to demonstrate a widespreadenvironmental cosmopolitan identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-98
Number of pages11
JournalSociological Research Online
Issue number2
StatePublished - 6 Jun 2011


  • Commodification
  • Cosmopolitism
  • Globalization
  • Hummus
  • Israeli Culture
  • Localization
  • Organic Food

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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