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Positioning processes around vegetarianism : a psychological study of change in foodways from a socio-cultural perspective
Résumé How do people start to question what was taken-for-granted and habitual to them? How do they construct new representations of themselves and of the world? How do they develop new practices related to domains that are complex and ever-changing? These are the issues lying at the core of this thesis. In other words, this work is about the way people navigate the world in which they live, in a possibly reflective and creative way. In order to address these complex issues, I use a socio-cultural framework, as this approach takes as a starting point the dynamic co-construction between the person and her or his environment. Within this framework, I place particular emphasis on approaches underlining the importance of dialogicity and socio-materiality in human activities. I select several conceptual tools that I consider as useful to analyze these processes of navigation of the world, namely positioning, rupture/transition, responsibility and creativity. The phenomenon that I examine with this theoretical framework is the elaboration of a foodway at an individual level and, more specifically, the questioning and refusal of products of animal origin, which, depending notably on the extent of the avoidance, might be labelled vegetarianism or veganism. I argue that this phenomenon is of high interest notably because it is at the core of societal debates and challenges related to animal ethics, environmental impact and health issues. In this thesis, I conceptualize changes in foodways as movements of repositioning in a foodscape (a landscape of discourses and practices related to food and eating) and I address the following research question: What are the positioning dynamics around the consumption of products of animal origin among people who changed their foodway regarding these products? This research question is divided into five sub-questions, namely: (1) What are the constitutive elements of the foodscape of the participants and how are they organized? (2) What are the constitutive elements of the subjective foodscape of each participant and how does the participant position him or herself in this foodscape? (3) How does positioning evolve during the person’s food trajectory, in relation notably to the rupture/transition dynamics? (4) What is the role played by responsibility in positioning? (5) How does the person creatively shape and enact positionings in concrete everyday activities? In order to address these questions, I use a qualitative approach in order to be able to understand each situation and trajectory in its complexity and dynamicity. I propose a methodological design combining a narrative interview, a dialogical experiment, and a filmed observation. As a complement, I also collect elements from the socio-cultural environment such as newspaper articles. Participants are ten adults who changed their food habits in relation to products of animal origin. The analysis is organized following the research sub-questions. In the first part, I propose a thematic analysis of the themes appearing in the interviews, with the aim of providing an overview of the content of the interviews. In the second part, I describe the positioning of each participant, thus going deeper into the subjective and unique landscape of each person. In the third part, I focus on the temporal dimension and propose three case studies analyzed through the lens of rupture/transition dynamics. In the fourth part, I examine the dynamics underlying the positioning movements through the notion of responsibility in two case studies. Finally, in the fifth part, I focus more on socio-material aspects and propose one case study in which I analyze the creative microgenetic shaping of a foodway during the preparation of a meal. The main contribution of this thesis is to propose a psychological socio-cultural approach of changes in foodways around vegetarianisms, an emergent topic that is currently of high interest notably because of the manifold challenges it raises but to which socio-cultural psychologists did not contribute much yet. This also leads me to reflect on the possibilities and limits of positioning as a theoretical notion, and to argue that the distinction between socio-material, socio-discursive and moral positioning provides a relevant conceptual tool to address the complexity of the way humans navigate the world in which they live. Finally, the combination of the notions of positioning, rupture/transition, responsibility and creativity also constitutes an original proposition allowing the exploration of a phenomenon like elaborating a foodway in all its complexity and dynamicity.
   
Mots-clés Positioning, vegetarianism, foodway, trajectory, transition, responsibility, creativity, dialogism, socio-materiality
   
Citation Gfeller, F. (2020). Positioning processes around vegetarianism : a psychological study of change in foodways from a socio-cultural perspective, Doctorat, Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel.
   
Type Thèse (Anglais)
Année 2020
Departement academique FLSH, Institut de psychologie et éducation
Université Neuchâtel (Neuchâtel)
Degré Doctorat
Liée au projet Positioning processes around vegetarianism. A psychologic...