Positioning Food Cultures: 'Alternative' Food as Distinctive Consumer Practice

Jessica Paddock

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Many sociological studies to date have explored the role of food in marking distinctions between groups. Less well understood is how ‘alternative’ means of food consumption become figured in such relations. Drawing on accounts of food practice derived from 20 in-depth interviews and a two-year period of participant observation, this paper considers the role of class culture in the practice of alternative food consumption. As participants speak their position, expressions of class arise through discussions of food practice. Having explored how food plays a part in marking boundaries of distinction between foods ‘for us’ and ‘for them’, we are reminded that in reproducing certain ideas about proper eating, we confine our imagining of alternative food futures to a limited politics of the possible. The paper highlights implications for future development of equitable alternatives to conventional foodways.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • alternative food
  • class
  • culture
  • consumption
  • distinction


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