Diet and Domestic Life in 21st Century Australia: An Exploration of Time and Convenience in Family Food Provisioning

Elizabeth Schubert (2009). Diet and Domestic Life in 21st Century Australia: An Exploration of Time and Convenience in Family Food Provisioning PhD Thesis, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland.

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Author Elizabeth Schubert
Thesis Title Diet and Domestic Life in 21st Century Australia: An Exploration of Time and Convenience in Family Food Provisioning
School, Centre or Institute School of Population Health
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Megan Jennaway
Dr Helen Johnson
Total pages 240
Total black and white pages 240
Subjects 11 Medical and Health Sciences
Abstract/Summary Drawing on Weber’s rationalisation theory and feminist critiques of the consumption-production literature, this thesis describes the impacts and changes in dietary practices that have occurred in households as a result of limited or constrained time available for family food provisioning, and how these changes can be understood as a product of contemporary Australian policy, cultural and food landscapes. It adopts feminist ethnography and household food strategies as important methodological innovations to forge a culturally informed account of convenience-orientated dietary practices in family households within contemporary Australian society. The data were collected from 15 Brisbane family households between January 2002 and August 2006. The thesis argues that dietary practices observed in ‘time-poor’ households have evolved as solutions to the problem of time scarcity by women whose role has traditionally been to feed families. The ‘solutions’ are shaped by the resources to which households have access, and ideas and traditions about family care, food and its responsibility, and available alternative options. Change is observed in diets, menus, source of prepared meals and prepared ingredients, but also organisation of food provisioning and distribution of workload. Also being reshaped is the role of food in the expression of cultural identity, commensality and, in the family setting, the transmission of food skills and knowledge. An analysis that critiques the usefulness of ‘speeding up’ domestic food provisioning as a viable and sustainable solution to the retention of the family meal is drawn, highlighting the problematic nature of persistent nostalgic interpretations of commensal eating patterns in culinary, food activism, sustainability and nutrition discourses. In the absence of a coherent moral philosophy for guiding current public health policy and practice, Kittay’s public ethic of care is proposed as a suitable model. A key challenge for future research is to ensure that household level sociocultural analysis continues to enrich broader debates in food policy and public health.
Keyword household food strategies
feminist ethnography
public ethic of care
Additional Notes landscape pages[pdf page nos.]: 67, 94, 119, 130, 131, 137, 138, 154, 177, 230-237.

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Created: Thu, 24 Sep 2009, 13:37:18 EST by Ms Elizabeth Schubert on behalf of Library - Information Access Service