Eating in an upscale restaurant when one is a drug dealer

Learn to eat in a great restaurant : social norms and stigma. Feedback on a few images of The Wire

In The millionaires the chance, Michel Pinçon and Monique Pinçon-Charlot studying how winning the lottery learn how to become rich. The gain in the lottery, forcing the lucky new millionaires to dramatically change their practices, to redefine their frames of thought and ways of life. However, this is not a trivial matter. The authors demonstrate the embarrassment of those new rich in the public places where their wealth leads them to show up, because they do not master the codes associated with these spaces. In the lecture given at the ECOLE normale supérieure de Lyon, last year, Michel Pinçon and Monique Pinçon-Charlot took the example of eating at a restaurant to show the offset of the new rich in relation to the codes of the great restaurants. Such a billionaire takes out his Iphone from his pocket to photograph the michelin-starred restaurant, the other not knowing to differentiate the cutlery for the fish cutlery for the main course…

A scene from episode 5 of season 1 of the series The Wire , is used to illustrate in images the symbolic violence that may take the absence of control codes in the restaurant. At the 18th minute, D’angelo Barksdale, drug dealer, enters a fancy restaurant with his girlfriend. They do not have a reserved table. The server is designated by a located in the passage of the servers. D’angelo asks if it is possible to have a table best placed but the server replied that this is impossible, all the tables are already reserved. Angelo agrees and sits down at the table that offers the server. Her friend then pointed out that he would have had to insist. But Dee thinks that her illegal activity and her social status stigma are clearly visible. Certainly, his economic capital is high but the people are not fooled. It can mimic the behaviour of the upper classes, the stigma it may not disappear so easily. His girlfriend, the lectured : he has just as much right to eat here than the other one. The american company would not make a difference between people ” who have succeeded “.


The two pictures proposed above and captured during the viewing of this episode allow us to stage the tension experienced by Angelo, who looks around him, visibly uncomfortable. Below a client at the restaurant, which symbolizes the opposite of the ease which is lacking in our character on the left. Is this a form of conformation to the stigma, but Angelo feels illegitimate in this restaurant, wondering if the other customers know how he earns his money

His behavior betrays his non-knowledge of codes and de facto reveals its humble origins, if not its illegal activity. At the time of the desserts, the server presenting with a trolley of desserts, Angelo draws on the trolley to give her friend the chocolate fondant she wanted. The server resumes soon the dessert, explaining that it is sample helping the customer to make his choice.

Angelo’s exceeded, do not choose a dessert in a hurry than it is to leave this restaurant and this environment which seems to refer to lower social status and deviant.

Manger dans un restaurant chic lorsqu’on est trafiquant de drogue

To see on Youtube, the scene restaurant



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