Food and eating practices are at the centre of the new concern in westrn societies about the body, self-control, health, risk, consumption and identity. While individuals enter the world with the need to eat to survive, from the moment of birth their responses to food and eating practices are shaped by the way in which they interact with othrs and with cultural artefacts. As such, meanings, discourses and practices around food and eating are worthy of detailed analysis and interpretation. In this analysis of the sociocultural and personal meanings of food and eating, the author explores the relationship between food and embodiment, the emotions and subjectivity. She includes discussion of the intertwining of food, meaning and culture in the context of childhood and the family, as well as the social construction of foodstuffs as gendered. Other areas considered include food tastes, dislikes and preferences, the dining-out experience, spirituality and the "civilizes" body.
She draws on a diverse range of sources, including representations of food and eating in film, literature, advertising, gourmet magazines, news reports and public health literature, as well as her own empirical research relating to the meanings of food in everyday life. This book's interdisciplinary approach incorporates discussion of the work of a number of major contemporary social and cultural theorists, including Bourdieu, Elias, Kristeva, Grosz, Falk and Foucault. This book should be useful reading for students and academics interested in the sociology and anthropology of food, the sociology of everyday life and consumption and of health and illness, medical anthropology, cultural studies and the study of diet and nutrition.
Deborah Lupton is an independent sociologist. She was formerly Professor of Sociology and Cultural Studies at Charles Sturt University, Australia.