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Conférence du Professeur Alan Warde, Developing tastes : the acceptance of unfamiliar foods in three English cities, 1995-2015

Mardi 3 juillet, 10h-12h
 : CMH, 48 bd Jourdan, 75014 Paris, salle R1-07
In this talk I examine processes associated with the modification of culinary taste over two decades by analysing the changing acceptability of different manifestations of ‘ethnic’ cuisine. I draw on results from a re-study of eating out in three English cities, which I am undertaking with Jessica Paddock and Jennifer Whillans. After a twenty year interval, in 2015, we administered a survey in London, Preston and Bristol, covering similar topics and asking mostly identically worded questions, and we also conducted follow-up in-depth interviews with some of the respondents. One clear trend is towards greater popularity of and familiarity with ethnic cuisine. I focus on how orientations towards novelty, possession of cultural capital and class trajectory jointly impact upon tastes for previously unfamiliar foods. Survey data chart the parameters of the social differentiation of taste for different cuisines and interviews capture the experience of the novel and the familiar, the pleasurable and the disgusting. The taste for ethnic cuisine is greatest among people with higher education and higher class position, with class differences becoming magnified during the period. I reflect on methodological and theoretical issues associated with carrying out a re-study, with the measurement of class, and with isolating the mechanisms behind changing tastes.

Alan Warde is Professor of Sociology in the School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester and a Professorial Fellow of Manchester’s Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI). Research interests include the sociology of consumption, the sociology of culture, and the sociology of food and eating. Current projects are concerned with applying theories of practice to eating, analysing change in eating behaviour in Britain, and conducting a re-study of an earlier investigation of eating out in England.

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