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Session Overview
RN05_05a_P: Food Practices and Normativities
Thursday, 31/Aug/2017:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Arne Dulsrud, National Institute for Consumer Research
Location: PA.1.1
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 1.

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Doing ‘proper’ food? Conceptualising mundane moralities in a so called ‘weak’ practice theoretical approach to food consumption

Bente Halkier

University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Practice theories have become one of the much used theoretical perspectives within sociology of consumption, particularly in relation to studying food consumption. However, there are still a number of areas where conceptual development and adaptation is necessary in order to use a practice theoretical approach for empirical investigations of food consumption in everyday life (Warde, 2014). One of these areas is normativity in practices and how these kinds of mundane moralities are related to normalisation of collective routines. In the paper, I am suggesting some conceptual adaptations of normativity and normalisation to existing understandings of the relation between reproduction and change in so called ‘weak’ practice theoretical approaches to consumption. The conceptual adaptations take their starting-point in and are exemplified empirically by examples from a number of my different qualitative studies of how consumers handle normative contestation of their food routines (e.g. Halkier, 2017).

Halkier, B. (2017). Normalising convenience food? The expectable and acceptable places of convenient food in everyday life among young Danes, Food, Culture & Society, 20, 1. In press.

Warde, A. 2014. After taste: Culture, consumption and theories of practice, Journal of Consumer Culture, 14: 279-303.

Cooking evolutions and globalization: Dynamics as perceived by culinary art students in 5 continents

Maxime Michaud

Center for Food and Hospitality Research, Institut Paul Bocuse, France

Food consumption is as well a universal social aspect – as it covers a biological need – as an important part of cultures. Inside food consumption, cooking habits are less studied, yet one of the most significant cultural trait. Nowadays more than ever, cooking habits are rapidly evolving, incorporating foreign influences (e.g. recipes, appliances, technics, ingredients) through several means (e.g. internet, TV, travel, shops, restaurant, information campaigns) worldwide. Given the various factors that could impact the perception of cooking, further research to identify the most influential is needed. The aim of this study was to examine how cooking experts from 5 countries in (5 different continents) perceive the dynamics and the extent of the influence of those factors and global trends (e.g. health, environment) in the cooking habits of them and their relatives.

Twelve long semi-structured interviews of under-graduate culinary art students from France, Mexico, USA, South Africa and Korea were performed during June and July 2016 by anthropologists at the Institut Paul Bocuse Research Centre. The interviews have been analysed with the help of a QDA Software.

Although cooking habits are effectively modified by foreign influences and global modernity, it appears that local cultural patterns determine the way these influences are integrated. The young generation is still attached to its cultural roots, including food. However, there was a trend of individualization of cooking habits, demonstrated by personal choices regarding food, linked to health, well-being and environment (e.g. vegan food, gluten-free, lactose-free, organic food). Paradoxically, these behaviors presented as “individual” seems to be the most shared trend in the different countries.

Domestic skills or how to reconcile food safety and food waste concerns

Severine GOJARD1, Berangere VERON2,1

1Centre Maurice Halbwachs, INRA, CNRS, EHESS, ENS, France; 2AgroParisTech, France

Recent literature about food waste in the domestic sphere has pointed out the tensions between concerns for food waste and for food safety–tensions increased by a recently growing sensitivity to health risks related to food matters (Watson and Meah, 2013). Other works have shown that food waste should be considered as a consequence of “the contingencies of everyday life” faced by households (Evans, 2011). Using data from a study about the sorting of leftovers, we explore the link between food waste and the criteria to dispose or keep fresh food and leftovers. In addition to confirming the widespread sense of guilt about wasting food, we examine how safety concerns do not necessarily imply more food waste, when consumers use competence and domestic skills, for efficient stock techniques and control as well as for the use of leftovers. We use in-depth semi-directive interviews with 25 participants, all with a partner and two children, but from various social backgrounds, on their daily food habits at home.

We show that some participants with a high safety concern and specific organizational skills display efficient storage techniques (use of different kind of boxes to keep leftovers, deep-freezing) whereas other with lower sensitivity to food safety or fewer skills have less systematic or less rigorous preservation techniques. Those different practices pertain to different modes of domestic organization, relying more or less on meals planning and culinary skills.

Everyday household food practices and food quality labels. An ethnographic study in Norway

Gun Mikaela Roos, Virginie Amilien

Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Consumption Research Norway, Norway

In this exploratory paper, some of the processes, practices and dynamics that accompany foods with quality labels (including protected designations of origin - PDOs, protected geographical indications - PGIs, organic food, as well as foods distributed by short food supply chains) will be investigated based on ethnographic fieldwork among Norwegian consumers. The research is part of an on-going EU funded project “Strength2Food” that aims at enhancing sustainability of agri-food chains and food quality schemes. Theoretically, this paper draws on a practice theoretical perspective on food consumption as well as convention theory. This paper, which is based on the first (of three) visits to 6 Norwegian households, explores consumers’ valuation of products promoted with food quality labels; the practices and routines of everyday life with which these products are associated; and justifications for planning, acquisition, storage, cooking, eating and disposal of these products.

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