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Title: The culture of the meal : class, family and time in the everyday consumption of Italian cuisine
Author: Cappellini, Benedetta
ISNI:       0000 0004 2706 0433
Awarding Body: Keele University
Current Institution: Keele University
Date of Award: 2010
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This ethnographic study seeks to understand the British culture of the meal, through analysing both marketplace and consumer representations of an Italian meal. The study uses an interpretive lens to explore the material and symbolic aspects of ordinary food consumption practices. In doing so the practices surrounding the process of making a meal are examined. This study adopts an innovative ethnographic strategy combining an interpretive analysis of media representations of Italian food, through the reading of 44 Italian cookbooks, with interviews with 20 British consumers and observations of their meal time. Findings contribute to the current debate of everyday consumption practices in different ways. They reveal that practices surrounding the process of making and sharing a meal are intimately bound up in both individual and collective family identity, values and life goals. It is through admitting to and excluding certain Italian dishes, products and brands for their everyday meals that consumers materialise and communicate their social class. Findings show that although there are some resonances between market and consumer representations of Italian food, participants' everyday food choices seem to be driven more by family conventions and routines than by hedonic satisfaction. The meal is in fact a gift of devotional love that mothers and husbands donate to their loved ones. It is also through this everyday sacrifice that individual identity, such as being a mother or a husband is reinforced. Everyday family meals also represent one of "being a family" practices where relations between members and a collective identity is created and perpetuated through sharing a dinnerThis study advances the sociological and interpretive consumer research debate on mundane consumption by showing how ordinary consumption practices, with their related conventions, routines and norms, are emended in the creation, perpetuation and transformation of single, relational and collective identities
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available