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Priya Fielding-Singh: "A Taste of Inequality: Food's Symbolic Value Across the Socioeconomic Spectrum"
Significant diet disparities in the United States follow a socioeconomic gradient, which scholars commonly account for using structural explanations that highlight differences in people's access to food. These explanations assume that people eat simply to nourish themselves and to survive. But eating is about much more than physical nourishment: we eat not only to live, but to fulfill other functions, among them, to provide for loved ones, to cultivate belonging, to show affection, and to signal status. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 160 parents and adolescents and over 100 hours of participant observations with families across socioeconomic status, I show how food's symbolic meanings help drive dietary disparities.
Priya Fielding-Singh is a Sociologist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Stanford University School of Medicine. Her research examines health, gender, and social inequality. She was a Clayman Institute Graduate Dissertation Fellow in 2016-17.