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The meal as a performance: food and meal practices beyond health and nutrition
Kristianstad University. (The PRO-CARE Group)
Kristianstad University. (The PRO-CARE Group)
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences.
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences. Kristianstad University ; Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway. (The PRO CARE Group)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9656-1926
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2016 (English)In: Ageing & Society, ISSN 0144-686X, E-ISSN 1469-1779, 1-25 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
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 in- vestigate 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  elderly people (aged between  and  years) and meal observations were carried out with  of these people. Participants were found to manage food and meal practices by continuously adjust- ing 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 façade 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, 2016. 1-25 p.
Keyword [en]
elderly people, eating difficulties, food and meal practices, meals, independence, eating aids
National Category
Nutrition and Dietetics
Research subject
Social Sciences, Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-56302DOI: 10.1017/S0144686X16000945OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-56302DiVA: diva2:957602
Available from: 2016-09-02 Created: 2016-09-02 Last updated: 2017-07-26

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Örtman, GerdPajalic, ZadaAndersson, Håkan S.Blücher, AnnaWendin, KarinWestergren, Albert
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Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences
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