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Construction and action in food evaluation : conversational data

Wiggins, Sally (2001) Construction and action in food evaluation : conversational data. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 20 (4). pp. 445-463. ISSN 0261-927X

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Abstract

This study engages both social psychological research on 'attitudes' and discursive work on 'evaluative practices.' Methodological constraints in both of these fields have resulted in a relative lack of attention to everyday interaction. By using conversational data, the current study extends discursive research and highlights the constructive and constructed nature of food evaluations. Family mealtimes were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed using discursive and conversational analytic procedures. Direct evaluative expressions such as 'like' and 'nice' were examined in terms of their construction and placement in the talk. The rhetorical organization of these expressions highlighted the extent to which food evaluations are oriented to actions such as accounts, compliments, and offers of food. Examples of these activities are discussed in relation to the interactional construction of evaluations. Implications of the study for the fields of food preferences and health promotion are also addressed.