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Anthropology of Family Food Practices

Constraints, Adjustments, Innovations


Edited By Marie-Pierre Julien and Nicoletta Diasio

What are the factors that govern our food choices at the beginning of the 21st century? Obvious answers to this question would point to social and cultural habits, but the issue is far more complex than this. Changes in national and international economies, the end of political regimes, migration, but also micro-events such as retirement, the birth of a child, varying school times and seasons, or innovations in industrial design, these are all potential factors that may generate a transformation of family eating habits. The meso- and micro-social levels are deeply intertwined in everyday life, and this book focuses on the connections between the two levels and on how they merge and overlap in the creation of new eating habits. In this book the reader will find scholars who analyse how families and households experiment, circumvent and appropriate technical, political, and social modifications in their family food situations, and how they create freedom and innovation under constraint. Grounded in strong ethnographic field research in several countries (Belgium, France, Italy, Norway, Romania, South-Africa), this book is also a contribution to the use of qualitative methods within the domestic space. It will be a welcome source of information for researchers and students in the fields of anthropology and sociology, for industrial designers and for any reader interested in studying social changes from the perspective of food practices.

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European Food Issues

For several decades now, our attention has been drawn to expanding agricultural output and the proliferation of powerful food companies. At the same time, in the process of European integration, the adoption of the Codex Alimentarius (1963), the Food Law (2002), and the recognition of PGIs for many products have contributed to the creation of a common European “food space”. Today, these systems of supply and distribution have between them given Europeans quite varied dietary possibilities. This situation stems from various developments, linking the economic to the technical and amounting to a long-term trend. Cultural issues bear upon this, whether culinary transmission from generation to generation or the increasingly diverse catering sector, and political decisions also contribute through the establishment of standards and regulations. Hence, traditions and ruptures, innovations and continuities are permanently unsettling the European diet. Using original sources, doctoral theses, conference papers, monographs and testimonies, this series examines historical developments at the national scale and also, more generally, in a transnational perspective. The series hopes to make a significant contribution to understanding the processes of food innovation, which are powerful factors of difference and identity in contemporary Europe.

Series editors:

Antonella CAMPANINI, Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomische, Pollenzo (Italia)

Peter SCHOLLIERS, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (België)

Jean-Pierre WILLIOT, Université François-Rabelais de Tours (France)

Editorial Board

Virginie AMILIEN, SIFO, Oslo (Norge)

Peter ATKINS, Durham University (UK)


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