Eating within the family. Studying the social and cultural variations of family food practices in Lyon and in Adelaide.

PhD :
Fairley LE MOAL
Preview :
Eating together, also termed commensality, is subject to many speeches and representations. In contemporary western societies, media, market studies and public health intervention programs tend to value the family meal by granting it positive effects on the nutritional, sanitary and social levels. These discourses reveal a lament of individualization processes and of the reconfiguring of food sharing norms. The social sciences have tackled this issue over the last decades and noticed the existence of an idealization of the family meal, although they also report discrepancies between representations and actual practices. At the intersections of the fields of study of anthropology and sociology of food, health, kinship and socialization, my thesis questions these variations. I aim at identifying what eating within the family, on a daily basis, means today by analyzing the driving forces of these practices in order to understand how they are constructed socially and culturally. I explore the norms and the representations associated to the meal, kinship, health and working rhythms. More specifically, I examine the modalities according to which commensal practices take part in the construction and the functioning of the family and, conversely, how family dynamics shape everyday food practices, and what their effects are on food itself. My research is based on ethnographic fieldwork with families, of which social and cultural conditions differ, in Lyon (France) and in Adelaide (Australia). I lead interviews with the family members and I observe the interactions, the food environment and provisioning, cooking habits, the moment of eating and clearing away, as well as food consumption outside of home.
Supervisor :
I. Mallon, Université Lumière-Lyon 2 - J. Coveney, Flinders University - (co-supervision : M. Michaud, IPBR - C. A. Pflaum-Hartwick - Mars Food)

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


Bénédicte Simon
Sales & Marketing Manager Research Center
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+33 (0)4 26 20 71 85

PhD Student

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