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1 SO2003 Lecture 6: Perspectives on Food and Feeding 9 October, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "1 SO2003 Lecture 6: Perspectives on Food and Feeding 9 October, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 SO2003 Lecture 6: Perspectives on Food and Feeding 9 October, 2006

2 2 Lecture Outline Perspectives on food and feeding – –Nutritional science – –Structuralist – –Materialist – –Post-structuralist Food and subjectivity

3 3 Food and Feeding Saturated by social meanings Mark social boundaries Structure everyday life Central to subjectivity Fundamental to embodiment

4 4 Nutritional Science Dietary control has only recently been conceptualised as a health issue – –The civilising process (Mennell 1985) – –Slimming (Stearns 1997) Nutritional science developed from the mid- nineteenth century – –Concerned with class-based dietary practices – –Dominated by discourses of rational management

5 5 Nutritional science Relates eating practices to the bodys physical functioning Preferences are relevant only in their implications for nutrition – – Culture can undermine innate knowledge about good food Problematic inattention to the social meanings of food – –Eating bound up with other pleasurable experiences and sensations – –Food habits are dynamic and open to change

6 6 Structuralism Focuses on the rules that contribute to social order Approach to eating practices addresses their social uses and internal structures Claude Levi-Strauss – –Food is a system of communication with its own rules and codes » »Food dichotomies (e.g., raw vs. cooked) are linked to cultural dichotomies (e.g., nature vs. culture)

7 7 Structuralism Mary Douglas – –Food categories mark out social boundaries/classifications » »Some foods considered polluting (Purity and Danger, 1966) – –Foods structure social events » »Ordering of meals: daily, weekly and yearly » »Adopting new foods (Bradby 1997; Goode et al. 1994) – –Food categories demarcate social groups – –Lack of attention to power relations

8 8 Materialist/conflict approaches Focus on macro-level processes of inequality Social class and economics largely determine eating practices Power relations are central to these analyses – –State and food industry (Jenkins 1991) – –Gender and family dynamics (Adams 1990; Orbach 1988; Wolf 1990) Little explanation for social change – –Conceptualisation of power/domination

9 9 Post-structuralism Concerned with the ways that truths are generated – –Power is productive as well as oppressive – –It is present in all aspects of social life and relationships Views power/domination as partial – –Womens dieting (Lupton 1996) Emphasises historical context – –The meaning of foods (like sugar) is variable and changing (Mintz 1986)

10 10 Food and subjectivity Food brings the outer world into the body (Bahktin 1984) – –Rituals around food reflect its potential danger (Iossifides 1992) The symbolic values of food are incorporated as part of the self (Falk 1994) – –Group identity – –Symbolic consumption (Featherstone 1990)

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