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The Politics and Diplomacy of Cooking and Hospitality

Grenoble School of Management and Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne via FutureLearn

This course may be unavailable.


Diplomacy and hospitality are similar in many ways: they bring people from various cultural and social origins together, and make them temporarily equal.

In national and international politics, the ritual of meal preparation can help mitigate potentially contentious relationships – or initiate a long series of feuds. Table manners can be the source of pride and distinction. Taste is an inexhaustible topic of conversation and debate. Moreover, the art of seating, serving and addressing guests according to their importance – far from being outdated – is still important in today’s globalised world.

We should not take all this for granted, though. Why do we have so much culinary diversity? Recipes and means of reception are designed by cultures rather than dictated by nature. They are as much markers of local identity, as they are a sign that we all belong to the same global civilization.

Discover how cooking and hospitality reflects politics

This free online course will help you understand the ethnological and diplomatic implications behind the culinary arts and how to properly host guests.

Developed jointly by the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne and Grenoble Ecole de Management, the course will use diverse examples from around the world, plus the work of historians, philosophers, anthropologists and political scientists, to highlight the role of hospitality in national and international politics.

Gain insights into cultural and intercultural issues

Through the course, you will:

  • gain a better understanding of politics through the study of interpersonal relationships;
  • deepen your knowledge of diplomacy and learn more about hospitality as an exercise in atonement;
  • gain insights into cultural and intercultural issues, and how mundane tasks can affect the vision people have of the world, or help them learn the basics of national and international cooperation or competition;
  • compare various lifestyles, and surprising cultural practices and habits;
  • become familiar with the use of soft power in “gastrodiplomacy” or “culinary diplomacy”
  • and broaden your vision of the business of hospitality.

This course is primarily designed for those who want to understand why we are so obsessed with food, and what actually happens when we invite friends to eat or drink, or accept to be their guests.

It will be particularly useful for those who plan to study or work in the culinary and hotel management fields; those who already work in these fields, and want to deepen their understanding of these issues; and those who study humanities, social sciences, biology and nutrition, and want to enhance their knowledge of the social ties and potential conflicts that stem from food.

Taught by

Yves Schemeil


4.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

Start your review of The Politics and Diplomacy of Cooking and Hospitality

  • Natrina
    Sometimes I felt a little lost, but this course has a lot of very interesting material to make you think about food, hospitality and their role in diplomacy and politics.

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