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SOC 808
Dr.Michelle Szabo

3272014CSOC808 Module 2Topics and Learning ObjectivesTopics and Learning ObjectivesTopicsHow our food habits shape and are shaped by cultureInfluences of capitalist consumer culture and alternative culture on food and shopping habitsWays in which unconscious cultural constructs shape food habitsLearning ObjectivesBy the end of this module you should be able toDescribe processes through which food behaviour influences culture and culture influences foodbehaviourUse sociological terms such as taboo fetish and cultural schemas to explain food habits andpossibilities for food system changeRelate your own food shopping and eating habits to capitalist or alternative valuesReadingReadingCritical Perspectives in Food Studies Chapter 4Note In addition to the readings this week you will be asked to go on a food shopping field trip soyou might want to plan ahead to make time for this See the Shopping Field Trip section at theend of this module for details Warm UpTake a moment to think about your own experience of food shopping Where do you go What kinds of thingsdo you normally buy What motivates you to shop this wayLets take a couple of polls to find out some of the common factors that influence food shopping in the classPollWhat is your top concern when youre food shoppingNow think about what influences your food choices Why do you choose the way you doThere are important material constraints on how we choose food such as our food budget If we have a lowincome there is sometimes little we can consider beyond cost However these constraints are typically fairlyobvious to us This week were going to talk about a sometimes lessobvious influence on our food choicescultureFood and Culture IntroductionhttpsderyersoncadecoursestemplatesdescC02F9DE3C2F3040751818AACC7F60B741143272014CSOC808 Module 2Topics and Learning ObjectivesWhen we think of food and culture we often think of ethnocultural background For example we mightassume perhaps erroneously that Canadians from a Chinese background are good at using chopsticks orthat someone who grew up in a South Asian household likes spicy foodOur discussion of food and culture this week goes beyond these simple associations and cultural stereotypesWe explore the influence of the larger culture of capitalism on all of our food habits We also look not only athow culture shapes us but how we shape itWhat is CultureCulture refers to things like knowledge language values customs and material objects that circulate ina group or society Culture is consciously passed on from one generation to the next through parentingand education It is also unconsciously absorbed and reproduced through things like everyday practicesconversations actions popular culture and the mediaHow does culture influence food shoppingWhen you think of culture you might think of someones ethnicity or background This can have a definitiveinfluence of food choices But as you read in the Johnston and Cappeliez chapter for today a lessobviousand often unconscious influence on all of us is capitalist consumer cultureAs members of a capitalist society we have certain expectations about the shopping experience This issometimes more obvious if our expectations are not metImagine the followingA store in which there is only one brand available of each itemA system where you pay a certain amount for a weekly basket of vegetables but you dont know aheadof time how many or what kind of vegetables you will get If you have heard of the CommunitySupported Agriculture system this might already be familiar to youA store in which produce is only available when it is in season locallyA vendor that prices products based on what he or she needs to make ends meet rather than what themarket price isA store where there is no place to park a carHow would you or do you feel shopping in such places Would you dislike the experience feel neutral aboutit or even enjoy itIt is not surprising if you feel uncomfortable with some of these scenarios Each one violates a principle ofcapitalist consumer culture that we have come to expect What are these principles Try to identify them usingyour own experienceMatch the scenario with the principle it violates Matching ExerciseCapitalist Consumer Culture PrinciplesThe point here is not for you to memorize this list but to show that we have expectations about shopping fromour larger culture that we are often not aware of Some of these principles have been challenged recently byhttpsderyersoncadecoursestemplatesdescC02F9DE3C2F3040751818AACC7F60B74214
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