9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN05 Sociology of Consumption

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Contested Foods Building II, C5.01

Are you really sure you do not want another piece of cake? How people react to dietary changes of family members


Previous studies have shown that it is not easy to introduce changes in dietary habits. Theories and models for behavioural change focussing on individuals? motivations appear inadequate to explain the reasons why one may succeed or fail to modify a diet. As the sociological literature on food consumption points out, this is due to lack of an encompassing analysis of the social aspects of meals consumption. More than individual choices, the food that is eaten, how it is eaten, by whom, where and when, reflect social values, groups identities, system of care and power and consolidated practices. Changes in dietary habits, hence, can be regarded as events that challenge values and routines and within a family. What happens when a family member or a close friend changes its diet? How people involved cope with these changes? Based on qualitative interviews with people that have made efforts for changing their diet and with other adults member of the family (or close friend), the paper discusses how families deal with dietary changes and analyse the experiences of planning and consuming meals when different dietary regimes coexist within a family. The data presented in this paper are part of a wider study ongoing at the Akershus University College (part of the research program ?Food, nutrition and society?), aimed at understanding the barriers in introducing dietary changes among population groups with different gender, ethnic and social background as well as different motivation for dietary change.