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The Sociology Analysis of Food and Food Ways Essay

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Sociology is the study of society and people. Food and food ways are often elements associated with particular societies and therefore, studying such a topic can offer valuable insight into the ways of that society and the people who live in it. Although eating is a vital part of survival, with whom, how and where we eat are not. Studying such ways can illustrate and represent the identity of a person or group. The nature of people and their beliefs can be indicated when analysing their food habits. Who individuals eat with is a particularly revealing factor into gaining an understanding of their identity, culture and society (Scholliers P 2001). For this reason commensality is a term frequently used in sociological research concerning food and food ways.

Commensality can be defined as the notion of eating with others. It is the act of two or more people consuming a meal together (Pearsall J 1999). The purpose of commensality is much more than that of allowing survival. It pushes beyond this and becomes a practice of socialisation. Anthropologist Martin Sahlins suggested that not only does it provide opportunities for people to integrate socially, but that it can be the starting factor and maintaining factor in which enables relationships to form and develop. For example, he found that at the beginning of relationship formation commensality tends to involve the sharing of drinks and snacks. As relationships develop the meals become more complex. He claimed that the traditional cooked dinner of meats and vegetables is one mainly shared among families and rarely with friends (Lupton 1996). This suggests that commensality is often used as an expression of closeness and the extent of such closeness can be discovered by looking at ...


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...ldhood in Food, the Body and the Self by SAGE publications in London, England
Mail Online NEWS (2010) Eating dinner at the table is 'dying out', says survey [online] available assessed 13/02/2012
Pearsall J (1999) The Concise Oxford Dictionary Tenth Edition page 286 by Oxford University Press in Oxford New York, America
Scholliers P (2001) Meals, Food Narratives and Sentiments of Belonging in Past and Present and Chapter Two Commensality and Social Morphology: An Essay of Typology Claude Grignon in Food, Drink and Identity Cooking, Eating and Drinking in Europe since the middle Ages by Berg in New York, America
Tapper T and Palfreyman D (2010) The Collegial Tradition in Higher Education in The Collegial Tradition in the Age of Mass Higher Education by Springer in United Kingdom


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