Title

Perceptions of Changing Global Meal Patterns Among Food Scholars

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Department

History

Conference Title

18th International Ethnological Food Research Conference

Location

Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland

Conference Dates

August 18-21. 2010

Date of Presentation

8-18-2010

Abstract

The preparation of a four volume Encyclopedia of Food Cultures Around the World to be published by Greenwood/ABC-CLIO and edited by me, has offered a unique opportunity for cross cultural comparison regarding changing meal structures across the globe. In fact, this was a prime intention of designing the reference work with common contents for each article. One section of each article focuses on meal times, changing patterns of eating out and the effect this has had on the family meal.

This paper offers a statistical survey of more than 120 articles written by scholars across the globe which will chart various reactions to changing foodways. It then provides an analysis of the perception of the food scholars from a qualitative angle. Was there a common lament over the erosion of family meals and the proliferation of fast food? Was modernity seen as a positive factor, greater availability of a wider variety of foods, improved awareness of nutrition?

I hope to show broad patterns among these food scholars which reveal that some will decry what they see as cultural imperialism while others welcome modernity and this will largely represent their academic discipline, cultural background, age, gender, degree of direct experience in the country or region studied and perhaps other factors I can not yet anticipate. I hope to show that one's attitude toward the processes of globalization are greatly influenced by one's academic orientation and I anticipate seeing major differences among scholars in the life sciences and social sciences versus those in the humanities.