“Things like tinned burgers and tinned macaroni, I ate as a kid - I would not look at it twice!”: Understanding changing eating practices across the lifecourse

John S. McKenzie (Corresponding Author), David Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is a common belief that eating patterns acquired during childhood shape them throughout adulthood. However, studies reveal that they can change. This paper explores this contradiction based on interviews with thirty-one people in Scotland. Viewing eating as a social practice, we adopt the lifecourse approach to demonstrate that there is evidence of both continuity and change in eating patterns over time. Leder’s (1990) concept of dys-appearance reveals why eating patterns are more likely to be revised and when these changes may be reflexively informed by dietary guidelines. This paper reveals that eating patterns acquired in childhood can shape them throughout the lifecourse, and, be resistant to attempts by others to change them. However, eating patterns may be more likely to change if the impetus for change originates within the individual and revisions are more likely to be informed by dietary guidelines when individuals view their eating patterns as problematic. Thus, this paper not only provides insight into the contradiction highlighted above, but also, demonstrates the utility of viewing eating patterns as social practice whilst illustrating the importance of individual agency in the reproduction of eating patterns, contributes to the sociology of the lifecourse and extends the application of dys-appearance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood, Culture & Society
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 14 Jul 2019

Fingerprint

eating behavior
childhood
adulthood
continuity
sociology
interview

Keywords

  • change
  • dys-appearance
  • eating patterns as social
  • lifecourse
  • transitions
  • turning points

Cite this

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title = "“Things like tinned burgers and tinned macaroni, I ate as a kid - I would not look at it twice!”: Understanding changing eating practices across the lifecourse",
abstract = "There is a common belief that eating patterns acquired during childhood shape them throughout adulthood. However, studies reveal that they can change. This paper explores this contradiction based on interviews with thirty-one people in Scotland. Viewing eating as a social practice, we adopt the lifecourse approach to demonstrate that there is evidence of both continuity and change in eating patterns over time. Leder’s (1990) concept of dys-appearance reveals why eating patterns are more likely to be revised and when these changes may be reflexively informed by dietary guidelines. This paper reveals that eating patterns acquired in childhood can shape them throughout the lifecourse, and, be resistant to attempts by others to change them. However, eating patterns may be more likely to change if the impetus for change originates within the individual and revisions are more likely to be informed by dietary guidelines when individuals view their eating patterns as problematic. Thus, this paper not only provides insight into the contradiction highlighted above, but also, demonstrates the utility of viewing eating patterns as social practice whilst illustrating the importance of individual agency in the reproduction of eating patterns, contributes to the sociology of the lifecourse and extends the application of dys-appearance.",
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