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The meal as a performance: Food and meal practices beyond health and nutrition
Food and Meal Science and the Research Group MEAL, School of Learning andEnvironment, Kristianstad University, Kristianstad, Sweden.
Food and Meal Science and the Research Group MEAL, School of Learning anEnvironment, Kristianstad University, Kristianstad, Sweden.
Department of Chemistry andBiomedical Sciences, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden.
Department of Chemistry andBiomedical Sciences, Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden.
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2018 (English)In: Ageing & Society, ISSN 0144-686X, E-ISSN 1469-1779, Vol. 38, no 1, p. 83-107Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The proportion of elderly people in the population is increasing, presenting a number of new challenges in society. The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate how elderly persons with motoric eating difficulties perceive and perform their food and meal practices in everyday life. By using Goffman's concept of performance as a theoretical framework together with Bourdieu's thinking on habitus, a deeper understanding of food and meal practices is obtained. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 elderly people (aged between 67 and 87 years) and meal observations were carried out with 11 of these people. Participants were found to manage food and meal practices by continuously adjusting and adapting to the new conditions arising as a result of eating difficulties. This was displayed by conscious planning of what to eat and when, avoiding certain foods and beverages, using simple eating aids, but also withdrawing socially during the meals. All these adjustments were important in order to be able to demonstrate proper food and meal behaviour, to maintain the facąde and to act according to the perceived norms. As well as being a pleasurable event, food and meals were also perceived in terms of being important for maintaining health and as 'fuel' where the main purpose is to sustain life. This was strongly connected to the social context and the ability to enjoy food and meals with family members and friends, which appeared to be particularly crucial due to the impending risk of failing the meal performance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cambridge University Press , 2018. Vol. 38, no 1, p. 83-107
Keywords [en]
eating AIDS, eating difficulties, elderly people, food and meal practices, independence, meals, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, elderly population, food intake, nutrition, public health, aged, behavior, beverage, clinical article, conceptual framework, eating, family, friend, human, qualitative research, semi structured interview, social environment, thinking
National Category
Health Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-38173DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X16000945Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84984697558OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-38173DiVA, id: diva2:1176910
Available from: 2018-01-23 Created: 2018-01-23 Last updated: 2018-01-23Bibliographically approved

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