Practices of food and diet in an urban context.
Spencer, Sophie Rebecca
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SPENCER, S.R. 2015. Practices of food and diet in an urban context. Robert Gordon University, MRes thesis.
Obesity is one of the biggest challenges facing the health of the British population, and this is reflected here in the city of Aberdeen. In order to be able to holistically assess the elements which interplay in the causes of obesity, an approach which encompasses sociology, biology and body shape could be considered. It was thought that aspects of modern urban life would affect these elements and ergo by examining these issues using a multi-disciplinary method it would be possible to discover how urban living affects the way individuals experience food and diet choices. This thesis focuses on the sociological aspects of this larger multi-disciplinary project and so, rather than examining obesity, focuses on the possible pre-conditions within an urban context which may lead to obesity. Relevant literature was reviewed and a phenomenological methodology and qualitative research method was utilised in this research in order to access the lived experiences of the participants and how living in different urban environments in the city of Aberdeen affected the way they experienced food. Sixteen participants were interviewed employing the semi -structured method wBopuho were resident of different areas of the city as measured by the Scottish Neighbourhood Index. The study found that three main themes emerged from analysis of the data: 1. Form versus function 2. The fine graining of poverty 3. The open and closed city This study has contributed to sociology by providing a new way of examining the fine divisions and subtleties of poverty and also the way in which a city can become closed to those who live within deprived areas, both metaphorically and physically.