The Practice of Eating
January 2016, Polity
The book falls into two parts. The first part establishes a basis for a practice-theoretic account of eating. Warde reviews research on eating, introduces theories of practice and constructs eating as a scientific object. The second part develops key concepts for the analysis of eating as a practice, showing how concepts like habit, routine, embodiment, repetition and convention can be applied to explain how eating is organised and coordinated through the generation, reproduction and transformation of a multitude of individual performances.
The Practice of Eating thus addresses both substantive problems concerning the explanation of food habits and currently controversial issues in social theory, illustrated by detailed empirical analysis of some aspects of contemporary culinary life. It will become required reading for students and scholars of food and consumption in a wide range of disciplines, from sociology, anthropology and cultural studies to food studies, culinary studies and nutrition science.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Towards a Sociological Theory of Eating
Chapter 3: Elements of a Theory of Practice
Chapter 4: Elementary Forms of Eating
Chapter 5: Organizing Eating
Chapter 6: Habituation
Chapter 7: Repetition and the Foundations of Competence
Chapter 8: Conclusions: Practice Theory and Eating Out
"Over the course of his exemplary career Alan Warde has emerge as an important - perhaps the important - theorist of eating and dining. In The Practice of Eating Warde provides a detailed analysis of the practice of dining and culinary production. Building on the centrality of consumption as a form of action, Warde synthesizes a wide range of theoretical approaches, applicable not only to the gastronomic world but in all corners of sociability. Warde has developed an approach to foodways as practice that belongs with the most trenchant works of contemporary theory."
Gary Alan Fine, Northwestern University and author of Kitchens: The Culture of Restaurant Work
"Rejecting conventional accounts of consumer choice, Alan Warde examines the routinized and habitual character of eating as a social practice. In a field that is prone to political rhetoric and media speculation, The practice of eating offers conceptual clarity and empirical rigour, a compelling synthesis of more than a decade’s research on the sociology of consumption."
Peter Jackson, University of Sheffield
"In this accomplished new book, Alan Warde conducts a substantive analysis of aspects of eating situations and performances in the light of theory, paying due attention to its various contexts. The growing ranks of sociologists in the broad area of food studies will welcome this ambitious attempt to unify a hitherto dispersed and disparate field by devising an comprehensive theory of how we eat."
Christel Lane, University of Cambridge