Julio Angulo, Ph.D.

Advisor: Dr. Leon Rappoport

Dissertation Title

Ideology and foodways: a content analysis of conventional and alternative food views

Dissertation Abstract

This study explores the thesis that views on food behaviors are structured by ideologies; that systems of foodways express and legitimize dominant and counter-dominant ideologies.

To conduct the analysis, a working model of ideological features was constructed. Ideology was divided in two types: ideology-as-ism and ideology-as-hegemony. Both variants were assumed to have three dimensions: structure, functions, and promulgating processes. Ideological structure, in turn, was conceived as a core myth containing sets of reports and commands; the promulgating processes were: reification, value inversion, referencing, deviance attribution, and cooptation; ideological functions for hegemonic ideology were the support and maintenance of the existing social order, while for ideology-as-ism, the aims were to criticize and change it.

The major research question was whether the food views of Nutrition Science, the dominant system of foodways, and of Macrobiotics, the counter-dominant perspective, conform to the general features of the model.

To explore the question and derive hypotheses about the interplay between food views and ideology a purposive sample of book chapters and journal articles outlining Nutrition Science and Macrobiotics was drawn. These were submitted to a qualitative variant of content analysis.

The main findings were: (1) Both dominant and counter-dominant food views conform to the general features of ideology; (2) structural myths stand in a divergent relation to one another; (3) processes operate on the manner in which each ideological discourse is carried out and on the qualitative value that key concepts are assigned; (4) processes of cooptation and attribution of deviance could not be identified; (5) functions are less discrete than initially believed. Ideology-as-isms betrays hegemonic features. Ideology-as-hegemony contains transformational, change inducing aims.

Results were discussed in relation to: (1) Methodology, namely the question of reliability and validity; (2) Theoretical and practical meaning, with emphasis upon the psychosocial mechanisms through which ideology mediates food behavior; and (3) Implications for further research on both ideology and on foodways. It was argued that both these areas need to be incorporated in the agenda of social psychology.

Education

Ph.D., Psychology, Kansas State University, 1986