Everyday distinction and omnivorous orientation

In recent years, studies on cultural consumption have experienced a Bourdieusian renaissance. This is indicated by a growing body of research analysing distinctions in different areas of culture, and numerous studies on the homology thesis applying the concepts of distinction, field and capital. Concurrently, however, it has been argued that instead of distinctive tastes, distinction and class status are increasingly manifested by cultural omnivorousness. Most studies on distinction in food have analysed eating out and stylization through restaurant preferences, rather than everyday food choices.

In this article, Nina Kahma, Mari Niva, Satu Helakorpi ja Piia Jallioja investigate everyday food choices from the perspective of distinction and omnivorousness. They draw on cross-sectional quantitative data collected in 2012 among 15–64-year-old Finns (N = 2601). The article maps out the relationship between food choice frequencies, dispositions and social background with Multiple Correspondence Analysis (MCA). The results show that the consumption of fruit and vegetables, ready-meals and convenience foods were among the most divisive food choices. The first structuring dimension juxtaposed processed, fatty and sugared foods with unprocessed foods and fresh ingredients. This dimension was associated with healthiness and weight control as dispositions. On the second structuring dimension there were differences in the valuation of taste, pleasure and sociability, and a contrast between moderate and restrictive choices. Particularly the first dimension was associated with educational, occupational, and gender differences. Distinction within everyday food choices was manifested in the use of healthy and unprocessed foods and ‘moderate hedonism’ in contrast to more restrictive tastes.

Article: Kahma, N., Niva, M., Helakorpi, S., & Jallinoja, P. (2016). Everyday distinction and omnivorous orientation: An analysis of food choice, attitudinal dispositions and social background. Appetite, 96, 443-453.