Sharing Meals: Social aspects of eating and cooking together

Social aspects of eating and cooking together

International Symposium - June 14th 2018


Program Symposium Cooking & Eating together 

Call for Paper

Proposal submission limit: April 30th 2018 (How to submit?)
Eating involves many other dimensions than just ingesting food. It is especially a social act, as it involves the social position and relationships of the individual in all of the included practices: supplying, cooking, dressing, ordering, ingesting, clearing, washing-up, managing left-overs, etc. (Fischler 1990; Poulain 2002; Warde 2016). Some moments in a day, the meals, are more specifically dedicated to eating with all these dimensions. Thus, all the choices regarding their organization have social implications. Especially, sharing these meals (including all the activities listed before) with other persons has important implications. Indeed, Eating Together is, for the human beings, a way of expressing special relationships – as it can be seen when the meal is used as a diplomatic tool. The term commensality, meaning literally “sharing the table”, can be defined as the fact to eat together (Grignon 2001; Sobal 2000). It is interesting to see that it is often used as a substitute for conviviality, which expresses the pleasure to be together and to discuss around a table (Brillat-Savarin 1825). It is true that eating together is often perceived as a good way of creating good social relationships, or even more to improve the quality of the diet (e.g. Weinstein 2006). Yet, eating together can sometimes also be a difficult time, especially when it was not the person’s choice (e.g. Guérin 2016). This symposium offers to explore, with a social science approach – but welcoming with a great interest cross-disciplinary approaches – the different dimensions associated with sharing meals (non exhaustive):
  • Particular aspects of eating or cooking together in an out-of-home context
  • Sharing meals in relation to pleasure, health and well-being
  • Innovation (for food service, industry, public health, marketing…)
  • Cultural differences in the manners of sharing meals
  • Specificity of the sharing of cooking times regarding the sharing of meal times.
  • Use of commensality as a social action mean.
  • Symbolic representation of the benefits of sharing meals (psychological, physiological, social)
  • Comparison of meals regarding other eating times (snacking).
  • Political/Diplomatic use of meals
  • Organization, perception and role of meals in institutions (school canteens, hospital, nursing homes, prisons…)

  • Brillat-Savarin, Jean Anthelme. 1825. La physiologie du goût. Paris: Sautelet. Fischler, Claude. 1990. L’Homnivore. Paris: Odile Jacob.
  • Grignon, Claude. 2001. « Commensality and Social Morphology: An Essay of Typology ». In Food, Drink and Identity: Cooking, Eating and Drinking in Europe since the Middle Ages, par Peter Scholliers, 23‑33. Berg.
  • Guérin, Laura. 2016. « « Faire manger » et « jouer le jeu de la convivialité » en établissement d’hébergement pour personnes âgées dépendantes (EHPAD). De l’intensification des contraintes de travail pendant le service des repas ». SociologieS, juin.
  • Poulain, Jean-Pierre. 2002. Sociologies de l’alimentation : les mangeurs et l’espace social alimentaire. Paris: Presses universitaires de France.
  • Sobal, Jeffery. 2000. « Sociability and Meals: Facilitation, Commensality, and Interaction ». In Dimensions Of The Meal: Science, Culture, Business, Art, par Herbert L. Meiselman, 119‑33. Springer US.
  • Warde, Alan. 2016. The Practice of Eating. John Wiley & Sons.
  • Weinstein, Miriam. 2006. The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Healthier and Happier. Steerforth Press.

How to submit?

The proposals are to be sent by e-mail to with the object “Call Symposium Sharing Meals” before April 30th 2018
These proposals (in english) must contain:
  • A presentation of the author(s)
  • An abstract (300 words max.), mentioning the object of the work, the methods and the main results.
  • The author’s preference for a poster or an oral presentation.
The authors will be informed of the acceptance or refusal of their proposal by 12 May 2018 at the latest. The selection committee is headed by Maxime Michaud and composed by the researchers of the Institut Paul Bocuse Research Center (Anestis Dougkas, Agnès Giboreau, Jérémie Lafraire, Laure Saulais).

Practical information

Location and date
The Symposium will take place at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Ecully (next to Lyon), on June 14th 2018. Fees (covers registration, breaks and lunch)
  • Registration fees: 100 €
  • Reduced fees: 50 € (speakers, students, Research & Innovation Committee Members)
  • Students and researchers at University Lyon II (or members of the LADEC or EVS): 25€
Please note that the organizers are not able to take care of transportation, accommodation or registration fees. However, speakers have access to reduced fees.


The registration includes the full day and the lunch. 
Billetterie Weezevent


For any question, please contact with the object “Sharing Meals Symposium”.

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Institut Paul Bocuse

Château du Vivier - Ecully - France
Tel: +33 (0)4 72 18 02 20

20, place Bellecour - Lyon - France
Tel: +33 (0)4 78 37 23 02

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