Food Studies and Sociology

A special issue of Social Sciences (ISSN 2076-0760).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 May 2021) | Viewed by 34151

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
1. Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches, Travail, Organisations, Pouvoir (CERTOP-CNRS), Toulouse University Jean-Jaurès, 31058 Toulouse, France
2. Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Management, Taylor’s University, Subang Jaya 47500, Malaysia
Interests: food transition, sociology and anthropology of food; food cultures; sociology of obesity and eating disorders; food crisis management; evaluation of public policies on food; health food links; sociology of tourism; tourism; gastronomy
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Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

From the 1960s onwards, the interest of the social and human sciences in food developed almost simultaneously in history, sociology, ethnography and anthropology. This occurred in the French-, English-, then Spanish-, German- and Portuguese-speaking countries, but at different rates and, above all, involving different issues. During the 2000s, two paths of « thematisation » developed in parallel. The initial movement continued to develop, becoming increasingly anchored to the central questions of the various disciplines–connections considered a condition for successful interdisciplinary dialogue. In doing so, it has strengthened its institutionalisation, resulting in the creation of specialised training and research groups.
The second approach, "Food Studies", has been based on a multidisciplinary thematic focus, following the model already implemented by "Cultural Studies". Under its umbrella, views on food from almost the entire academic world of the social sciences are brought together. Connections have been made with "social movements" that see food as a place for understanding the challenges of changes in contemporary societies.

This issue seeks to explore these two paths in terms of the themes, methodologies and social issues they address. The aim will be to identify their respective contributions to the issues of:
- The medicalisation of food and control practices,
- Obesity and the normalisation of bodies,
- Food heritage, its study and development,
- Risk and food safety,
- The environmental consequences of food choices,
- The human-animal relationship and the different forms of vegetarianism,
- The consequences of modernisation and compressed modernisation on food practices
- The new configurations of the challenges of world hunger and the issues of food sovereignty
- Food transitions (nutrition, epidemiology and protein transition)
- Movements of consumption ebbs and flows inside and outside the household (eating out, home deliveries, new forms of housing).


The articles may be devoted to a particular theme, to the history of their construction in terms of problematics and recognition, to the stakes of these differentiated developments in the different linguistic universes and academic traditions. They will attempt to identify the epistemological and social issues at stake in these approaches to food by the social sciences.
They may take the form of a problematic essay, a research report (provided the theorisation is substantial), a literature review (those highlighting work produced in non English-speaking environments will be welcome), or a comparative analysis.

Bio:

Jean-Pierre Poulain, Professor of sociology and anthropology Jean-Pierre Poulain leads the chair of "Food Studies", created jointly by the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès (France) and Taylor’s University, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). He conducts research in the sociology of food and health, focusing on the consequences of the transformation of food cultures and eating habits. Member of CERTOP-CNRS, he co-directs the LIA-CNRS "Food, Cultures and Health" (France-Malaysia).

Prof. Jean Pierre Poulain
Guest Editor

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Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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17 pages, 532 KiB  
Article
Social Times of Cooks in France
by Cyrille Laporte and Jens Thoemmes
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(3), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11030109 - 4 Mar 2022
Viewed by 2393
Abstract
This article analyses how social times are structured for cooks in France’s hospitality sector. Observations, in situ studies in restaurants and 43 interviews constitute the primary data of this research. We first examine the context, with data on employment, food practices, the socialisation [...] Read more.
This article analyses how social times are structured for cooks in France’s hospitality sector. Observations, in situ studies in restaurants and 43 interviews constitute the primary data of this research. We first examine the context, with data on employment, food practices, the socialisation of cooks and work organisation. Then, we describe their time configurations. The results highlight a dual operating system, with an all-day work schedule on one side and a schedule with a daily break and mandatory free time on the other. The results show a variability in the practices of the cooks, with five different time configurations using the variables of work and break time. The break schedule can be interpreted as a time configuration for (1) unpaid overtime for the benefit of the employer, for (2) non-work obligations and as (3) a work schedule including free time at the individual’s disposal. The continuous workday can be seen as (4) a negation of sociability and time needs associated with the break schedule, and as (5) an opportunity to rebalance social times and synchronise with the private sphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Studies and Sociology)
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16 pages, 299 KiB  
Article
Eating Our Way to Authenticity: Polish Food Culture & the Post-Socialist ‘Transformation’
by Paulina Olszanka
Soc. Sci. 2022, 11(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci11020044 - 27 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3787
Abstract
Of growing interest to social scientists in recent years is the emergence of food culture, i.e., the consumption and lifestyle behaviours of those who harbour a particular preoccupation with food. In many ways, food culture could be used as an index for late [...] Read more.
Of growing interest to social scientists in recent years is the emergence of food culture, i.e., the consumption and lifestyle behaviours of those who harbour a particular preoccupation with food. In many ways, food culture could be used as an index for late modernity and late capitalism—we can identify in its midst various processes of individuation, abstractions of moral consumption, and attempts at mitigating against various late modern processes. Food culture has also emerged in recent years in Poland as an analogous process to the arrival of late capitalism. In this way, in Poland, as elsewhere, food could be understood as an ontologically compelling medium for metaphysical concerns that the structural used to support—for example, moral, ethical, political, and identity-based concerns. The following paper will make an account for how Polish food bloggers understand authenticity in their food choices and lifestyles, and how this is heavily determined by the Polish ‘post-socialist’ context, which is also a new emergent field of enquiry in Polish food studies. The paper will therefore explore the three themes of authenticity that emerge from the interviews and determine that something is authentic to the bloggers when it is (a) free from lies, (b) true to itself, and/or (c) made by the bloggers (‘DIY’). The paper will consequently argue that the bloggers’ engagement with food, and their broader lifestyle choices, are contingent on these perceived notions of authenticity and, indeed, authenticity is something that they are always trying to secure in their lives, often through food itself. Moreover, these themes of authenticity, and the categories that underpin them, are often closely connected to the post-socialist experience. Abstractions of time, alienation, community, the environment, food production and identity all come to be anxious categories post-1989, and the bloggers often narrate their experiences with food and lifestyles in relation to these concerns. For the Polish food bloggers, therefore, authenticity is a confused and contested category in post-socialism, but also late modernity, and food culture becomes one way of negotiating this. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Studies and Sociology)
18 pages, 1016 KiB  
Article
Food Itineraries in the Context of Crisis in Catalonia (Spain): Intersections between Precarization, Food Insecurity and Gender
by Mabel Gracia-Arnaiz, Montserrat Garcia-Oliva and Mireia Campanera
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(10), 352; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10100352 - 23 Sep 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2964
Abstract
This work analyzes the relationship between the precarization of everyday life and the increase in food insecurity in Catalonia (Spain). Based on an ethnographic analysis of the food itineraries of a group of people in a situation of precarity, this article examines their [...] Read more.
This work analyzes the relationship between the precarization of everyday life and the increase in food insecurity in Catalonia (Spain). Based on an ethnographic analysis of the food itineraries of a group of people in a situation of precarity, this article examines their lived experiences under the pressure of having to meet daily food needs. The results show that gender differences are significant in terms of the strategies adopted, particularly in the forms of acquisition and preparation, places of consumption and support networks. Given that women are largely responsible for feeding the household, they are the ones most often managing the attendant difficulties. In situations where access to food depends on diverse and irregular sources, they engage in practices that both protect the family group’s basic need to eat and sometimes compromise their own health, eating less than is usual and/or sufficient, skipping meals or even, on occasion, going hungry. The study concludes that providing food involves a crucial set of knowledge and skills for social reproduction that is not incorporated into existing emergency programs, with specific actions to avoid gender inequality likewise being omitted. The article proposes that both issues be discussed and taken into account in health and social policy. This study analyzes a subject that has scarcely been addressed in Spain. The challenge in investigating food insecurity from a gender approach is not only to make visible the crucial roles of women in food security and their contribution to it but also to show how the process of precarization manifests itself unequally across households. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Studies and Sociology)
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15 pages, 813 KiB  
Article
Food and Nutrition Myths among Future Secondary School Teachers: A Problem of Trust in Inadequate Sources of Information
by Vanessa P. Moreno-Rodríguez, Roberto Sánchez-Cabrero, Alfonso Abad-Mancheño, Almudena Juanes-García and Fernando Martínez-López
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(9), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10090325 - 28 Aug 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 5723
Abstract
The Internet and social networks are full of nutrition information, offering people guidance to make healthy eating choices. These sources always present themselves as a gateway to reliable information on healthy eating; however, too often this is not the case. Far from being [...] Read more.
The Internet and social networks are full of nutrition information, offering people guidance to make healthy eating choices. These sources always present themselves as a gateway to reliable information on healthy eating; however, too often this is not the case. Far from being trustworthy, there are usually plenty of food myths. A food myth is a widespread false belief about food, nutrition, and eating facts that gives rise to certain behaviors, from fashionable trends to diets. Academic training is a valuable tool to combat food myths and the pseudoscience linked to them, but educators must participate in this battle. To test this idea, we analyzed the prevalence of nine highly popular food myths held by 201 secondary school Spanish teachers. The aim was to assess whether expertise in science areas prevents teachers from falling into these food misconceptions. Our study results showed that food myths are held regardless of specialty area. The power of the media in popularizing and spreading nutrition myths among educators may be the cause, even more potent than academic training. We conclude that since scientific knowledge is not enough to erase food myths, we need further actions if we aim to prevent the problems that food myths may cause. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Studies and Sociology)
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35 pages, 3334 KiB  
Article
Young Children’s Learning about Hunger and Satiety through the Lens of the Norms of Those Who Feed Them
by Anne Dupuy, Sophie Nicklaus, Camille Schwartz, Stéphanie Goirand and Laurence Tibère
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(8), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10080292 - 30 Jul 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4358
Abstract
This article focuses on parental perceptions of signs of hunger and satiety in children under 4 years of age and their effects on feeding practices, in a sample of parents of children with typical development. Discourse analysis shows the close relationships between social [...] Read more.
This article focuses on parental perceptions of signs of hunger and satiety in children under 4 years of age and their effects on feeding practices, in a sample of parents of children with typical development. Discourse analysis shows the close relationships between social food norms, nutritional norms, medicalized child care norms, and educational norms in adults’ determination of children’s appetites according to their perceived needs and psychomotor development. The results also indicate how these norms are expressed according to social position, parental experience and context. More broadly, this article addresses top-down education—from adults to children—in food socialization, and points to the varying attention paid to the signals given by the child. It thus highlights some of the processes by which biological, psychological and social factors interact in socializing children to food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Studies and Sociology)
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14 pages, 523 KiB  
Article
Local vs. International Hamburger Foodservice in the Consumer’s Mind: An Exploratory Study
by Chiara Giachino, Niccolò Terrevoli and Alessandro Bonadonna
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(7), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10070252 - 2 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3421
Abstract
Fast-food chains are everywhere and every day millions of people choose to have a break in a fast-food outlet. However, in recent years some local hamburger foodservice chains outside of the well-known international fast-food chains have found success by leveraging products linked with [...] Read more.
Fast-food chains are everywhere and every day millions of people choose to have a break in a fast-food outlet. However, in recent years some local hamburger foodservice chains outside of the well-known international fast-food chains have found success by leveraging products linked with their territory. How do consumers value the service received in an international, rather than a local, fast-food outlet? This aspect is under-investigated in the literature, but is relevant in order to capture the main and most important differences between the two systems. Through a structured survey, consumers’ perceptions of both international and local hamburger foodservice outlets in the Turin Metropolitan area (Italy) were measured and analysed. The results indicate that consumers generally have a break in an international fast-food restaurant, but the value assigned to local fast-food chains is higher than that assigned to international ones. Specifically, local fast-food chains are appreciated for particular aspects related to the supply chain (animal welfare, ethical and social aspects, the origin of the raw materials, and some other characteristics of the food). The findings contribute to a more in-depth understanding of consumer behaviour, and give an insight into the relevance of the local aspects as opposed to the international ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Studies and Sociology)
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Review

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24 pages, 917 KiB  
Review
Indigenous Meanings of Provenance in the Context of Alternative Food Movements and Supply-Chain Traceability: A Review
by Chetan Sharma, Damir D. Torrico, Lloyd Carpenter and Roland Harrison
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(7), 255; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10070255 - 5 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 4392
Abstract
This article reviews the concept of provenance from both contemporary and traditional aspects. The incorporation of indigenous meanings and conceptualizations of belonging into provenance are explored. First, we consider how the gradual transformation of marketplaces into market and consumer activism catalyzed the [...] Read more.
This article reviews the concept of provenance from both contemporary and traditional aspects. The incorporation of indigenous meanings and conceptualizations of belonging into provenance are explored. First, we consider how the gradual transformation of marketplaces into market and consumer activism catalyzed the need for provenance. Guided by this, we discuss the meaning of provenance from an indigenous and non-indigenous rationale. Driven by the need for a qualitative understanding of food, the scholarship has utilized different epistemologies to demonstrate how authentic connections are cultivated and protected by animistic approaches. As a tool to mobilize place, we suggest that provenance should be embedded in the immediate local context. Historic place-based indigenous knowledge systems, values, and lifeways should be seen as a model for new projects. This review offers a comprehensive collection of research material with emphasis on a variety of fields including anthropology, economic geography, sociology, and biology, which clarifies the meaning of provenance in alternative food systems. It questions the current practices of spatial confinement by stakeholders and governments that are currently applied to the concepts of provenance in foods, and instead proposes a holistic approach to understand both indigenous and non-indigenous ideologies but with an emphasis on Maori culture and its perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Studies and Sociology)
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Other

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16 pages, 883 KiB  
Essay
Reflections for a Sociological Representation of the Eater
by Jean Pierre Corbeau
Soc. Sci. 2021, 10(9), 339; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci10090339 - 13 Sep 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3180
Abstract
Professor Jean Pierre Corbeau is an important author of the French sociology of food. He played a decisive role in the emergence of the concept of the eater. This essay is a reflexive discussion by the author of one of his theoretical articles [...] Read more.
Professor Jean Pierre Corbeau is an important author of the French sociology of food. He played a decisive role in the emergence of the concept of the eater. This essay is a reflexive discussion by the author of one of his theoretical articles published in 1997. It is an opportunity for the English-speaking sociological community to become better acquainted with this current in the sociology of food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Studies and Sociology)
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