Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Toward a Psychosociology of contemporary food consumption

Roland Barthes in Toward a Psychosociology of Contemporary Food Consumption, focuses on how food is much more than something that we eat. It can be an attitude, a form of communication, and it can also have ties to values. Barth’s points out that food is a “twofold value, being nutrition as well as protocol” (34). Food is taking a turn from something we eat to something we need for certain functions. Looking at food from a different viewpoint is interesting; it gives it a certain value that it didn’t have before.

It is a simple function that everyone partakes in; however there are certain factors that will influence what each individual eats. Anything from advertisements, to social class, and a person’s culture these are all things that change what we eat and why we eat. Behaviors also influence eating, behaviors such as; activity, work, sports, effort, leisure, and celebration. They can all be expressed from food. Barths also acknowledges that society will arrange the signifying system of its food around two major focal points, activity (no longer work) and Leisure (no longer celebration. Barthes challenges you throughout the piece to look at food from a different angle.

1 comment:

  1. In “The Problem of Changing Food Habits” Margret Mead discusses how and when food habits change, all the factors that go into determining an individual’s dietary patterns, and how difficult it is to change those habits. There are things such as culture and income level that will determine what a person eats and even why they eat it.
    Not only does Mead discuss food habits, she also focuses on the difference of nutritional value that each person receives based on those habits. Not only will a person eat different things because of their income level or culture, but their nutrition will be balanced differently also. The nourishment a family receives is dependent on the way the food is prepared. Factors such as the region that the family lives in can alter the way food is prepared, also who is buying and preparing the food can also be a factor. Different family members shop for food and eat for different reasons, a mother shops for her family’s health whereas an adolescent will refuse to eat anything that is good for them.
    Food habits are established for a person often in childhood. While a child is growing and developing is when their food patterns solidify. Because these habits are established at such a young age they are very hard to change. Natural disasters and wartime are things that will force a family to alter their food habits in order to be fed. It is easier for a person to change their habits in these situations because it’s necessary rather than just for their own good. American cafeterias are becoming more diverse in what they serve in order to satisfy a wide range of cultures and meal habits.
    Mead finishes her article by arguing the importance of science in this matter. How without science we would not be able to study people and their food habits. Therefore we would not be able to change or understand those habits. It is also important that American food habits need to be based off not only tradition; but based off of tradition that embodies science. So that it has the ability to change if new scientific findings are found that need to be incorporated into America’s food habits.