Module 4

Toronto Metropolitan University **We aren't endorsed by this school
GEO 509
Oct 25, 2023
Uploaded by MasterFreedom10864 on
Module 4 Food & Gender Between Mothers and Markets: Constructing family identity through homemade food - The goal of this study is to answer the following questions: o What role does homemade food have in the construction of family identity? o How is branded/processed food changing the way family identity is constructed? - Food meanings and practices: o Embody social structures and relationships o Fluctuate with local economic and social context Food has meaning and the way we construct food has meaning - Normative pressures for convenience and speed have been embraced by consumers and have altered o Food habits o Family life o Consumption rituals Today we eat differently than 100 years ago People are eating on the go > not having all their meals at home with their family Homemade Food - Branded food is portrayed by corporate marketing as the way to save precious time that can now be spent with the family by engaging in other activities o Majority of the people would say that homemade food is better than processed food o Big corporations have to advertise it in a way to convince people to buy it because it is a better option o One strategy is to present packaged food as appealing by for e.g. convincing them how it can save time and you can spend it with your family - While food companies encourage acquisition of branded food, they have adopted the rhetoric of homemade food by attributing to branded food some of the characteristics of homemade dishes o "It tastes exactly like how my mom would make it" > trying to portray processed food has the same taste and feeling to homemade food
- Movements like the slow-food and gourmet food movements increasingly oppose branded food and promote a return to homemade food and the authenticity of past family life (a vision that is well-intentioned but often utopian) o It does not take into account that not everyone has the luxury to prepare all homemade meals o Today a large women population go to work instead of staying at home all day and it is hard to prepare homemade food all the time Food and Identity - Food meanings and practices contribute to family identity o Meals construct family around shared consumption practices Family usually tend to get together during mealtimes o Mealtime rules contribute to the reinforcement of gender norms Most of the meals in large majority at homes are prepared by the female (mothers) Mom has the responsibility to prepare and serve food o Ideas of "proper" family meals reinforce a patriarchal family ideology (dad is the breadwinner, mom is responsible for sustaining the family by preparing nutritious meals) - What is still unknown is the degree to which market forces influence family identities The Traditional Family - The mother serving etc... Food practices and social reproduction - What is social reproduction? "Social reproduction is the process by which a society reproduces itself from one generation to another and also within generations" o If you grow up seeing that mealtime is when family gets together, and the mother serves the food o You will learn this pattern and forward it to your family across generations - Food is implicated to varying degrees in processes of social reproductions at the household/family level - However while homemade food might serve to transmit cultural heritage across generations, we cannot forget that the elements that sustain social reproduction have a dynamic nature Method - Topic: the discourse of homemade food production and consumption and its interface with the marketplace in an intergenerational context
- Location: US Midwest - Length of study: 2 years - Methodology: long interviews Findings - Homemade food is perceived as a symbol of the traditional American family and brings back nostalgic memories of family unity and particular family members - Homemade food is idealized and contraposed to branded/processed food that is perceived as homogenized, meaningless, and exclusively aiming at profit - Homemade food is a gift made with love and it is this love that gives it meaning - Different generations have different definitions of what classifies as homemade food o Younger generations: homemade is not mass [produced and required some forms of labour If you bring a cookie mix and mix the ingredient and then bake a cookie > for them it will be considered homemade food o Middle-age generations: homemade is linked to nature and made from scratch A mix won't do > need to get fresh blueberries to actually make a blueberry muffin not just a cake mix pack o Senior generation: homemade follows tradition Following generational recipes If following a google recipe > does not count as homemade food - For younger people, cooking homemade meals is related to a sense of self- accomplishment and creativity - For middle-aged individuals, cooking homemade meals brings a sense of success when others appreciate the effort o Not just cooking for yourself > cooking for someone else and to get their approval - For senior people, cooking homemade meals bring a sense of having done one's duty > taking care of the family - The difficulty in retaining tradition in this busy day is a major concern of the participants in the study Discussion - Family meaning of homemade food remain important in contemporary consumption habits: homemade still symbolizes what the family is all about - Homemade food, as opposed o market food, continues to demarcate the reality of the home and family identity - Homemade food removes any threat made by the market-made to family identity: people can buy market-made products, but they still are able to transform them into homemade meals - Different generations have different understandings of what is homemade
Page1of 4
Uploaded by MasterFreedom10864 on