Tripe Soup at the Service Area: Thoughts on an Infrastructure of Meaningful Sociality



meaningful sociality, infrastructure, service area, tripe soup, ethnography


In this paper, I draw on ethnographic fieldwork (participant observation) carried out at a Bulgarian service area to argue that such spaces create a ‘meaningful sociality’ building on imagination and sensual experience, as well as on experiences of intersectional oppression or dominance. I draw on the history and adaptations of shkembeto (tripe soup) and my observations of its preparation and serving at one such service area. This soup, which is famous in Turkey and Bulgaria, offers some people disorienting sensory experiences that are associated with complex power relations, which makes the service area a site for reflection on discrimination and gender roles. The paper closes with reflections on the sociality of such places, which is ephemeral but meaningful both there and at home.


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