Social Interaction as Key to Understanding the Intertwining of Routinized and Culturally Contested Consumption

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A number of concepts and concerns from cultural sociology were thrown out as babies with the bathwater when the sociological study of consumption became dominated by the use of practice theories. The concept of social interaction is one of them, perhaps due to assumptions about its association with symbolic and discursive interaction and reflexivity. In the field of sociological analysis of food conduct, however, there is a need for addressing both more culturally contested parts of food practices as well as more routinized parts. Food consumption and practices of provisioning, cooking and eating are both tacit, recursive, mundane activities, and at the same time discursively questioned through multiple, mediatized, cultural repertories of food. In the article, I will suggest how social interaction can be conceptualized as enabling the understanding of this intermingling of the culturally contested and routinized parts of consumption within a practice theoretical perspective. The conceptual suggestion consists in four analytical suggestions for how the culturally tacit and reflexive in food conduct become linked through social interaction. The four suggestions are about coordination, intersection, hybridity and normative accountability. The four suggestions are exemplified empirically on the basis of a number of qualitative studies of food conduct among Danish consumers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCultural Sociology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)399-416
Publication statusPublished - 2020

ID: 251314326