Policy-related, academic and populist accounts of the relationship between food and class tend to reproduce a dichotomy that privileges either middle-class discerning taste or working-class necessity. Taking a markedly different approach, this collection explores the classed cultures of food practices across the spectrum of social stratification. Eschewing assumptions about the tastes (or lack thereof) of low-income consumers, the authors call attention to the diverse, complex forms of critical creativity and cultural capital employed by individuals, families and communities in their attempts to acquire and prepare food that is both healthy and desirable. The collection includes research carried out in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Denmark, and covers diverse contexts, from the intense insecurity of food deserts to the relative security of social democratic states. Through quantitative and qualitative cross-class comparisons, and ethnographic accounts of low-income experiences and practices, the authors examine the ways in which food practices and preferences are inflected by social class (alone, and in combination with gender, ethnicity and urban/rural location). The collection underlines the simultaneous need for the development of a more nuanced, dynamic account of the tastes and cultural competences of socially disadvantaged groups, and for structural critiques of the gross inequalities in the degrees of freedom with which different individuals and groups engage in food practices. This book was originally published as a special issue of Food, Culture & Society.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Looking at Food Practices and Taste across the Class Divide Jennifer Smith Maguire
1. Food Acquisition in Poughkeepsie, NY: Exploring the Stratification of "Healthy Food" Consciousness in a Food-Insecure City Leonard Nevarez, Kathleen Tobin and Eve Waltermaurer
2. Cultural and Symbolic Capital With and Without Economic Constraint: Food Shopping in Low-Income and High-Income Canadian Families Brenda L. Beagan, Gwen E. Chapman and Elaine M. Power
3. Making the Most of Less: Food Budget Restraint in a Scandinavian Welfare Society Annemette Nielsen and Lotte Holm
4. Tortillas, Pizza, and Broccoli: Social Class and Dietary Aspirations in a Mexican City Susan Bridle-Fitzpatrick
5. The Possibilities and Limits of Personal Agency: The Walmart that Got Away and Other Narratives of Food Acquisition in Rural Texas Wesley R. Dean, Joseph R. Sharkey and Cassandra M. Johnson
6. From "Junk Food" to "Treats": How Poverty Shapes Family Food Practices Wei-Ting Chen
7. Understanding Food Access in a Rural Community: An Ecological Perspective Rosalie M. Rodriguez and Kamini Maraj Grahame
Jennifer Smith Maguire is Associate Professor of Marketing in the School of Business at the University of Leicester, UK. Her research focuses on the construction of markets, tastes and value. Major areas of work include cultural intermediaries as taste makers, and the cultural production and consumption of provenance and authenticity as forms of value.