This paper reflects on a sociological study of eating out in the UK. After a brief résumé of the study and its main empirical findings it addresses questions about the relationship between social scientific and other forms of practical knowledge about consumption. In the context of a process referred to as the commercialisation of mental life, the paper isolates a number of features which distinguish sociological from market research approaches to the topic. It is argued that too determined a practical focus to the study of consumer behaviour is likely to compromise understanding.
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