The Social Constructs of Food

Patrick Sean Cullen, Lauris Borodovskis, Liam Moazizi & Aruven Marday Ramen

Student thesis: Basic Project


Making food choices is considered an important decision which involves a complex set of problems such as environmental issues, animal well-being, health issues, and narratives that shape decisions. This study aims at understanding the construction of obscured components which construct values and explaining how such values determine food choices of individuals. In addition, this study builds on the findings of previous research and uses the theory of Valuebelief-Norm and the concept of Food Consumption Value. A total of 21 interviews and 50 questionnaires were completed to answer our research question. The data showing homogenous outcomes were amalgamated and analyzed through discourse analysis. Our own biases as researchers were evaluated and reflected upon before, during and after the interviews. Findings of this study suggest that several (interrelated) factors such as distinct values, economic factor, or timing determine food choices of people. Nonetheless, not all factors are conspicuous: while some appear to be easily identified, others seem to appear more important – whilst also more obscured. The results suggest that these are cultural influence, parental influence and the influence of the local environment. Additionally, findings of this study suggest that social constructivist approach may be an effective approach to understanding food choices of individuals and accounting for origins of such choices.

EducationsBasic - International Bachelor Study Program in Social Sciences, (Bachelor Programme) Basic
Publication date18 Dec 2018
Number of pages65
SupervisorsThorkil Casse


  • food
  • conceptualizations
  • norms
  • social constructs
  • interviews
  • values
  • motives