Exploring the expression of taste through the processes of consumption this book provides an incisive and accessible evaluation of the current theories of consumption, and trends in the representation and purchase of food. Alan Warde outlines various theories of change in the twentieth century, and considers the parallels between their diagnoses of consumer behaviour and actual trends in food practices. He argues that dilemmas of modern practical life and certain imperatives of the culture of consumption make sense of food selection. He suggests that contemporary consumption is best viewed as a process of continual selection among an unprecedented range of generally accessible items which are made available both commerciall
Chapter 3: Measuring Change in Taste
Measuring Change in Taste
Sociology, when commenting on the nature of contemporary societies, probably tends to overestimate secular change (Abercrombie & Warde, 1992: 7). Claims about radical transformation are often not subjected to the test of systematic comparison. In a new field like that of consumption, where there is relatively little relevant systematic knowledge about past practice, there is even greater temptation to invent, whether from theoretical deduction or by pure speculation, a picture of a past against which to contrast a sketch of the current situation. Some of the results of such temptation have already been reviewed. Those aspects which are empirical can only be sensibly adjudicated on the basis of: (1) precise specification of the hypotheses in question – what ...