Social Psychology: Wiggins: Plenary on eating practices

Wiggins is giving a plenary talk at the Finnish Annual Social Psychology Conference (Tampere University): “On how the psychological becomes the social in everyday eating practices”, May 7th, 2020.


In this presentation, I will discuss the ways in which psychological concepts associated with eating practices, such as food preferences, become social in everyday interaction. They become (or, it may be argued, already are) social not only because they have relevance for other people, but also through the discursive and embodied practices in which we enact them. For example, we can talk about our ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’, to accept or refuse food, or to identify with other people. We can also use non-lexical vocalisations – the lipsmacks, mmms, and urghs – to enact food pleasure or disgust. When feeding young infants, parents can use these vocalisations to enact tasting on behalf of their infant; so that even the bodily sensations of eating can become social. The aim of the talk is not only to demonstrate how apparently individual, psychological concepts are inherently social but also to exemplify the importance of examining the details of everyday social interaction.

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