Health, Food and Social Inequality : Critical Perspectives on the Supply and Marketing of Food book cover
1st Edition

Health, Food and Social Inequality
Critical Perspectives on the Supply and Marketing of Food

ISBN 9780367341442
Published June 6, 2019 by Routledge
286 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Health, Food and Social Inequality investigates how vast amounts of consumer data are used by the food industry to enable the social ranking of products, food outlets and consumers themselves, and how this influences food consumption patterns.

This book supplies a fresh social scientific perspective on the health consequences of poor diet. Shifting the focus from individual behaviour to the food supply and the way it is developed and marketed, it discusses what is known about the shaping of food behaviours by both social theory and psychology. Exploring how knowledge of social identities and health beliefs and behaviours are used by the food industry, Health, Food and Social Inequality outlines, for example, how commercial marketing firms supply food companies with information on where to locate snack and fast foods whilst also advising governments on where to site health services for those consuming such foods disproportionately. Giving a sociological underpinning to Nudge theory while simultaneously critiquing it in the context of diet and health, this book explores how social class is an often overlooked factor mediating both individual dietary practice and food marketing strategies.

This innovative volume provides a detailed critique of marketing and food industry practices and places class at the centre of diet and health. It is suitable for scholars in the social sciences, public health and marketing.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: The Politics of Food Consumption and Health  2. Analytical Framework and Methodology: Critical Realism and Critical Discourse Analysis in Food and Health Research  3. Applying Social Theory to Food Production, Food Consumption and Social Class  4. Reflexivity, Habitas and Lifeworld: Applying the Theories of Giddens, Bourdieu and Habermas  5. The Evidence for a Diet-Health-Class Link  6. How the Agri-food Industry Shapes our Diets and Influences our Health  7. Critical Perspectives on Marketing and Marketing Research  8. Social Class in Food Retailing and Marketing and Reflections on Marketing Ethics  9. Conclusion

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Following an extended career in public affairs, as a speechwriter and later as a newsroom journalist and editor, Carolyn Mahoney obtained her doctorate at the University of Sussex, UK. She is based in London and is a Visiting Researcher at the University of Brighton, UK.


'The book opens with an overview of "the politics of food consumption and health" and then delves into three chapters rich—and dense—with theory...Though there is no direct comparison, the book is a deeper, headier dive from general overviews, such as the 2013 revised and expanded edition of Marion Nestle’s Food Politics (CH, Oct'03, 41-0962) or Michael Moss’s Salt, Sugar, Fat (CH, Aug'13, 50-6793)...Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, researchers/faculty, and professionals/practitioners.'- J. M. Deutsch, Drexel University, CHOICE, October 2015

"Mahoney’s research consists of synthesising a wide range of published studies on health and nutrition, marketing and food production...What is especially interesting is her argument that the expan-sion of sites where food can be purchased, from bookshops to fitness centres, encourages overeat-ing. Indeed, food is omnipresent and much of it is cheap. ".- Laura J. Miller Brandeis University, Sociology of Health & Illness Vol.