Disentangling practices, carriers and production-consumption systems: a mixed-method study of (sustainable) food consumption

Julia Backhaus, Harald Wieser, René Kemp

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With a focus on food consumption practices, this chapter provides conceptual contributions and methodological reflections. The central question is how far practice-based approaches help understanding human behavior, both conceptually and analytically. Food consumption is tied to family traditions, individual taste, nutritional needs, and preferences. At the same time, its provision, obtainment, preparation, and consumption have economic, political, social, and cultural significance. The empirical data comprise more than 1,200 responses to a web-based questionnaire survey carried out in Austria, Hungary and the Netherlands as well as several semi-structured interviews with residents from the same countries. Following Reckwitz’s (2002) definition of a practice as ‘consist[ing] of several elements, interconnected to one other’ (p. 249), we describe a ‘web of entangled elements’ that are best ascribed to practices, their individual carriers, or production-consumption systems. These ‘entangled elements’ help to account for the very diverse, yet patterned range of practices observable in everyday life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPutting Sustainability into Practice
Subtitle of host publicationApplications and advances in research on sustainable consumption
EditorsEmily Huddart Kennedy, Maurie J. Cohen, Naomi T. Krogman
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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