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Generational positions at a family dinner: Food morality and social order

  • Karin Aronsson (a1) and Lucas Gottzén (a2)


This article concerns generation and food morality, drawing on video recordings of dinners in Swedish middle-class families. A detailed analysis of affect displays during one family dinner extends prior work on food morality (Ochs, Pontecorvo, & Fasulo 1996; Grieshaber 1997; Bourdieu 2003; Wiggins 2004), documenting ways in which participants may shift between distinct generational positions with respect to affects and food morality (from “irresponsible child” to caretaker positions). In our recordings, an elder sibling is shifting between a series of contrasting affective stances (Ochs & Schieffelin 1989; M. Goodwin 2006; Stivers 2008), linked to generational positions along an implicit age continuum: positioning himself, at one end of the continuum, as his young brother's accomplice, and at the other as an adult, a serious guardian of food morality. This study shows that generational positions are not fixed, but are positions adopted as parts of language socialization and interactional events. (Generational positions, caretaker positions, social age, affective stances, alignments, negotiations, food morality, language socialization, family life, dinnertime)*



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