1st Edition

Eating Together in the Twenty-first Century Social Challenges, Community Values, Individual Wellbeing

    214 Pages 13 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides in-depth perspectives on communal food and dining practices. In doing so, it challenges less sustainable lifestyles that are encouraged by a social system based on unlimited economic growth.

    In considering the diverse societal settings in which individuals and communities eat, the book offers opportunities to reflect on the concept of belongingness, or the lack of it, when eating. It examines what, how, and why we eat together and considers what the future of our food and eating may look like. A wide range of themes are explored, with examples from Finland, Algeria, Europe, and Asia drawing on topics such as and cases for interdisciplinary research, such as environmental impact, social inclusion, happiness, health, and well-being, to name a few of the areas where the importance of eating together is stressed across disciplines. The book explores the lived experience of diners and the contexts in which commensality takes place in the family circle and in communities. It emphasises how the practice of eating together plays a crucial role in satisfying deep-seated social needs.

    The book bridges the gap between science, governance, professional practice, and everyday dieters to provide hands-on benefits and insights. It will be of interest to researchers and policymakers in the areas of food studies, food policy, cultural studies, gastronomy tourism, psychology, global health, religion, and spirituality.

    Tamas Lestar

    i.  Eating together in the family circle (case studies)

    1.     TV or not TV?  A comparison of children and young peoples’ experiences of conviviality in Spain and the UK.
    Surinder Phull

    2.     Negotiating food, negotiating family well-being: eating together in Algerian modern families
    Souad Birady and Hichem Sofiene Salaouatchi

    3.     Dining together with family and mental well-being of young people: A study conducted in four Asian countries
    Seyedeh Khadijeh Taghizadeh, Syed Abidur Rahman & Behnaz Saboori

    4.     Swedengate – When commensality norms collide
    Håkan Jönsson

     ii.   Eating together in communities (case studies)

    5.     Bringing the nation (back) together: The Big Jubilee Lunch in  the UK (2022)
    Malgorzata Radomska                 

    6.     Potluck in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Two auto-ethnographic accounts
    Tamas Lestar & Jason Garcia Portilla

    7.     Eating together – staff members’ perceptions of a social lunch meal in kindergarten
    Hege Wergedahl

    8.     Plant-Based lunch in school: Eating Together as a means to promote sustainable and healthy eating
    Malliga Marimuthu

    9.     The influence of local gastronomy on tourist behavioural intentions: a case of Saharan cuisine
    Ghidouche Faouzi, Nechoud Lamia & Ait-Yahia Ghidouche Kamila

    iii.  Theorising the present and future practice of eating together

    10.  Commensality and identification in a Christian context: stable and transient elements
    Stephanos Avakian, Pavlos Stavrakakis

    11.  Being here, being there: eating and drinking together as a socially constructed issue
    Hugues Séraphin, Shem Wambugu Maingi & Maximiliano Korstanje

    12.  The evolution in Nordic eating and commensality: a focus on solitary eating practices in Finland
    Silvia Gaiani

    13.  The banquet in Western Hospitality: a descriptive reading of Culinary Tourism
    Maximiliano Korstanje

    14.  Beyond conviviality: Facets of Eating Together
    Nicklas Neuman & Håkan Jönsson

    Tamas Lestar


    Tamas Lestar is a Senior Lecturer in Business Management. He holds a PhD in management and sustainability from the University of Essex. For several years, he has been investigating spiritual communities and practices in the context of dietary change and sustainability transitions. He taught qualitative research methods, new venture creation, social innovation, and other management and organisation modules internationally, including in China. His research interests include sustainability transitions, CO2 transitions, Social Practice Theory, Post-structuralism; Political Discourse Theory, Ethnography, Dietary change; Veganism; Conviviality (eating together); Degrowth / Postgrowth economy (New Economics), Sharing (economy); Job-share; Reduced working hours, Spirituality, Religion & Pro-environmental practice, Spiritual leadership and organisational hierarchies, Transformative learning; Second / Third-order learning, Eco-communities; Eco-farms; and Eco-tours, Agency for change, East Africa, Asia.

    Manuela Pilato is a Senior Lecturer in Business Management. She holds a PhD in Agrifood Business. She has been working in research and management positions in different European universities in the Agribusiness and EU policy sector, including the University of Catania (Italy), the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and the University of Bucharest (Romania). Since 2014, she has been working for the University of Winchester within the Faculty of Business, Law and Sport, expanding her research and teaching interests in Responsible Management, Sustainable Development and Global Issues. In 2017, she also joined the Politics and Society team in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, as a Senior Lecturer in Politics. She has extensive research experience and robust analysis testified by participation in conferences, international networks, publications in peer-reviewed journals, and edited volumes in the agribusiness, environmental, and sustainability issues. Her current research interests include agrifood management, sustainability, and environmental management, and European and global environmental, food, and health issues.

    Hugues Séraphin is a Senior Lecturer in Tourism, Hospitality and Events. He joined Oxford Brookes Business School in January 2023. He holds a PhD from the University of Perpignan (Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, France). His current research interests include Sustainable Tourism / Events; Tourism (and Events) in Post-Colonial and Post-Conflict Destinations; Children in Tourism, Hospitality and Events; and Tourism Education.

    "Eating together, both with family and friends and with strangers, is surely one of the oldest customs we have -- a gateway to bonding family and community. Now universally less common as an everyday event, it remains nonetheless a focal point for casual social engagement. This book has much to tell us about the decline of family dinners in favour of fast food in front of the TV, as well as much to remind us about what we are missing."

    -Professor Robin Dunbar – Experimental psychology, University of Oxford 

    “This volume does important work for the interdisciplinary field of food studies because it provides broader theoretical and empirical perspectives on conviviality, commensality, and the art of eating. The editors have gathered a set of thought-provoking case studies and theoretical reflections on the relationship between marketplace ideologies, social norms, and community and family life.”

    -Professor Benedetta Cappellini – Durham University Business School