Research

 

You will find a complete range of our monographs, muti-authored and edited works including peer-reviewed, original scholarly research across the social sciences and aligned disciplines. We publish long and short form research and you can browse the complete Bristol University Press and Policy Press archive of over 1,500 titles.

Policy Press also publishes policy reviews and polemic work which aim to challenge policy and practice in certain fields. These books have a practitioner in mind and are practical, accessible in style, as well as being academically sound and referenced.
 

Books: Research

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  • Population Growth, Food and Consumption x
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This chapter examines what people buy and eat, and how that is governed by the availability, affordability and acceptability of foodstuffs. It describes how tastes cluster, and how clustering varies with income, education, age and gender. Thus different sections of the population have greater or lesser access to diverse and nutritious foods. Attention is paid to food poverty and the spread of food banks. It charts the availability of different foodstuffs arising from global trade which has introduced new ingredients to fuel greater diversity. The range of products in circulation came to be determined primarily by a small number of supermarket chains in the later 20th century, at the expense of specialist outlets. The chapter ends with an extended critical appraisal (practical and theoretical) of the effects of the commodification of food supply. It discusses alternative modes of supply beyond retail markets, including institutional catering, domestic hospitality and freeganism.

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This chapter assesses the contribution of eating to the delivery of pleasure and the arousal of anxiety. It is argued that on aggregate the British population experiences both greater pleasure and greater anxiety than before. Evidence shows that dining out, especially at the homes of other people, is reliably very enjoyable. Eating at home is also for the most part both pleasurable and satisfying. More popular and scientific attention is devoted to anxiety and its causes, the forms of which have evolved from absolute and relative shortages of food, through nutritional quality and the prevention of illness, to ethical concern about production and consumption. Typical ways of dealing with anxiety are discussed, including recourse to habit and the adoption of formal dietary regimes. Other contemporary concerns about obesity, meat eating and environmental sustainability are addressed.

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This chapter considers the nature, origins and consequences of Britain’s early ‘nutrition transition’ and the emergence of its urban-industrial diet. It notes the importance of industrialisation, imperialism and war in the shaping of the 20th-century diet. It reviews class differences in everyday eating from the late 19th to mid-20th centuries. Post-war reconstruction after 1945 reduced class inequalities and the British population shared a relatively homogeneous diet for a couple of decades. Everyday eating underwent modification from the 1960s with the introduction of foreign food items, in shops and especially through commercial catering. Controversies over the nature and degrees of continuity and change are discussed, both substantively and methodologically. The various elements of the practice of eating are outlined, distinguishing arrangements for meals, acquisition of foodstuffs, cooking and taste. The chapter concludes with a consideration of social trends, cultural processes and institutional development.

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This chapter addresses issues of standards of taste and class distinction. It begins with an analysis of ‘foodyism’ – the growing enthusiasm for procuring, eating and discussing ‘good’ food. Enthusiasm depended significantly on the spread of dining out for pleasure, the effects of which are analysed in detail for the period 1995–2015 in terms of its familiarisation and diversification. Differentiation in styles of dining out is illustrated in a comparison between groups of people with omnivorous and restricted orientations, although both groups assert to similar principles regarding variety, comfort and knowledgeable appreciation. The role of cultural intermediation in turning food into an object worthy of aesthetic evaluation is shown to be part of the entrenchment of consumer culture in the later 20th century. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the association between food enthusiasm, cultural omnivorousness and the new middle class.

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Food, Taste and Trends in Britain since the 1950s
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How have eating habits changed in recent decades? What does it mean to eat well?

This fascinating book examines continuity and change in food consumption and eating patterns since the 1950s. The culinary landscape of Britain is explored through discussion of commodification, globalisation and diversification enabling an understanding of both developing trends and enduring habits.

The author’s research undertaken over 40 years offers fresh insights into such practices as everyday meals, shopping, cooking and dining out and how these are shaped by demographic, social and cultural processes. The book provides a comprehensive and engaging analysis of eating in Britain today and of the many controversies about how this has changed.

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This chapter concerns meal preparation within the household. It examines the domestic division of labour – the nature and distribution of work, primarily between men and women – and remarks on the slow rate of change since the 1950s. Widespread consensus exists that domestic work should be shared, and despite an increasing the number of men participating and expressing an interest in cooking, it remains the case that in practice women do more of the cooking in heterosexual households. The deployment of convenience foods is often seen as a regrettable response to burdensome domestic labour, with ready meals often condemned on various, not least moral, grounds. The chapter makes a qualified defence of ready meals in support of a more nuanced explanation of their undoubted popularity. It is concluded that cooking from scratch can be overrated and that it might be better to teach children about eating rather than cooking.

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This chapter examines meal occasions and the associated social arrangements. It discusses the food content of Sunday lunch, mid-week dinners, mid-week lunches and breakfasts, noting differences between the 1950s and 2012. Simplification is a common feature. It also analyses time spent and the company present at events of different types, including the family meal. Meals are mostly brief affairs, constrained by other social activities which make coordination with potential companions often problematic. Eating out for pleasure on commercial premises came to play a significant role in food provisioning with restaurants increasingly providing both novel dishes and opportunities for socialising over a meal with family as well as friends. The chapter focuses on the conjuncture of forces of casualisation, individualisation and informalisation, finding evidence in snacks, eating alone, table manners and the decline of ceremonial ritual. It argues that a gradual modification of meal patterns occurred, with changes as much a consequence of shifting social contexts and temporal rhythms as personal preferences or ideals.

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This chapter examines the slow expansion of sensory tastes in response to the growing diversity of available foods occasioned by globalisation, migration and the influence of cultural intermediaries. Britain was introduced to foreign flavours and foreign cuisine in the context of an emergent process of gastronationalism. Emphasis is put on the role of restaurants and takeaway outlets in broadening the range of tastes and preferences. The process is also apparent in the columns of women’s magazines between 1968 and 2016. The normalisation of foreign flavours is critically examined. The consequence for the definition and promotion of specifically British cuisine is outlined using evidence from the Good Food Guide. The chapter argues that the incorporation of foreign foods has been a pivotal development since the 1950s, while also noting that the process has been slow and is still incomplete.

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This concluding chapter focuses on rates and directions of change in food and eating practices since the 1950s. It reviews evidence about different dimensions of change while also describing significant continuities apparent over the period. The failure of efforts to define a British cuisine is discussed, as are the class foundations of the norms of everyday eating. A summary audit is conducted to identify both improvement and deterioration in the quality of the experiences of food preparation and eating. The prospects for a radical transformation in habits in the face of the climate emergency are introduced and debated with a view to putting into perspective the speed, quality and extent of culinary and cultural change since the 1950s.

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This chapter explores how alternative consumer cooperatives (ACCs) emerged and how they function within a political and economic milieu characterized by the dominance of a strong state tradition and commitment to the premises of neo-liberal policies, which affects various aspects of social and economic life, as well as the daily practices of citizens. What were the major factors that mobilized the urban middle class to build networks of solidarity with other excluded groups such as the petty commodity producers? The focus is on how the discontents of capitalism – the consumers engaged in alternative food networks and small farmers dedicated to the principles of food sovereignty – collectively set the ground for prefigurative politics in food in Turkey, with the actions taken and strategies developed by the leading figures giving rise to the initiation of the alternative consumer cooperatives.

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