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"Eat like a man": a social constructionist analysis of the role of food in men’s lives

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Appetite
Issue number2
Volume59
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)391-398
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper adopts a social constructionist approach to investigate the role of food in the production of identities and social experiences for men. With recognition that relational and experiential processes are central to men’s lives, the purpose of the paper is to inductively explore the personal and interpersonal complexities of this group’s food related behaviours. Empirical data were collected through a series of semi-structured interviews with 33 men, comprising of 4 age groups, (18–35, 36–54, 55–64, and 65+ years). Regardless of age, an analysis and interpretation yielded three emergent themes, food as a component of: (1) role-play; (2) contextual interactions, (3) and the management of a functional vs. hedonic dialectic. Across these themes various tensions and contradictions emerged suggesting a complex reflexivity to male food life experiences. Relational issues emerged such as the observation that some men concede control to their partners throughout their food experiences. Overall, our men’s consumption practices construct a specific socio-cultural articulation of masculine roles whereby their internal paradoxes are leveraged as a means to produce desirable experiences and self-identifications.