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The Moral Economy of Ready-Made Food

Wheeler, Kathryn (2018) 'The Moral Economy of Ready-Made Food.' British Journal of Sociology, 69 (4). 1271 - 1292. ISSN 0007-1315

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The aim of this paper is to develop and apply a framework to explore how moralities of consumption are constituted in and through markets. Using the case of ready-made foods, this paper argues moral economies are comprised through interactions between micro, meso and macro level processes in the form of instituted systems of provision, state regulation, collective food customs promoted though media, NGOs and lifestyle practitioners, and the everyday reflections of consumers. Building on a theoretical framework developed to understand the moral economy of work and employment (Bolton and Laaser, 2013), this paper explores how markets for ready-made food are incessantly negotiated in the context of moral ideas about cooking, femininity and individual responsibility. It focuses on ‘new’ market innovations of fresh ready-to-cook meal solutions and explores how these products are both a response to moralizing discourses about cooking ‘properly’, as well as an intervention into the market that offers opportunities for new moral identities to be performed. Using data gathered from interviews with food manufacturers and consumers, I advocate for a multi-layered perspective that captures the dynamic interplay between consumers, markets and moralities of consumption.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Cooking, Femininity, Moral economy, Morality, Ready-meals
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2017 15:14
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2019 02:00

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