Food and Eating Practices During the Transition from Secondary School to New Social Contexts

This paper examines how the new social contexts experienced by young people after leaving school are related to everyday food practices and eating habits

Wendy J. Wills

2007

Scholarcy highlights

  • This paper examines how the new social contexts experienced by young people after leaving school are related to everyday food practices and eating habits
  • Findings from in-depth interviews with 31 young people aged 16–24 years studying at a college of further education in South East England are used to explore the role of new social spaces and places and their impact on young people's eating habits and routines
  • Young people's changing peer groups were related to the re-negotiation of food and eating practices and young people often adopted particular habits when with particular groups of peers
  • Young people often voiced a desire to differentiate from the food ethos present in their family home and this was sometimes related to the adoption of a vegetarian diet; some young people, reported being nostalgic for the ‘family food’ they ate before making the transition from school
  • This study shows that food and eating practices are not ordinary, mundane events in young people's lives, but an important part of dealing with the transition to new social contexts
  • Michael was the exception here; his immediate family had been vegetarian for many years and his evident pride in adopting his family's beliefs served to strengthen his attachment to family values

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