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Food, the Body and the Self

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.
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Table of Contents

Introduction Theoretical Perspectives on Food and Eating Food, the Family and Childhood Food, Health and Nature Tastes and Distastes The Asceticism/Consumption Dialectic Conclusion

About the Author

Deborah Lupton is an independent sociologist. She was formerly Professor of Sociology and Cultural Studies at Charles Sturt University, Australia.


`This is a book about a phenomenon that is making an impact at the present day in western societies - namely, the interaction between food and eating practices and the preoccupation with the body, self- control, health, risk, consumption, and identity, the last in particular being a currently active and even agitated subject of discussion among scholars. The author, a specialist in Cultural Studies and Cultural Policy with an emphasis on the links between health and culture, is well fitted to analyse the subject....This is an interesting book, which shows through the subject of food and eating the wide range of shaping forces that play upon any individual within the society of the present day' - Review of Scottish Culture 11 `As a beginner's guide to the cultural and academic discourses around food and the self this is a helpful, well-annotated volume with a bibliography that is comprehensive' - Times Higher Education Supplement `A worthwhile and welcome addition to existing commentaries on food consumption and practices' - Sociology of Health & Illness `Brings together the cultural forces that have insinuated themselves into our experience of food and the body. Drawing on the extensive writings that have grown up around, food, body image, nutrition theory and gender, the author draws an altogether more voluptuous picture of the state of our relationship to our bodies. Her account focuses on the many significances of food in people's lives today; the struggle to manage the contradictory exhortations of the food industry, the cultural practices associated with food, the meanings with which eating is imbued, the influences of family, gender and sexuality and how these shape the human body and its relationship to food' - Susie Orbach, Times Literary Supplement

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