The purpose of this paper is to address the meaning of food consumption practices in maintaining intergenerational relationships between young university students and their parents.
Student food consumption has been mainly studied through quantitative methods, treating students as a homogenous group, more or less living in a vacuum, and often with the focus on nutrition. This paper gives voice to young adults to unpack the significance of cooking and food consumption in relation to maintaining or changing family ties. The study is based on 12 qualitative interviews, five focus groups and a workshop, with Danish and international students in Denmark. Theoretically, the study draws on family, consumption and transition research.
The authors identify four realms of intergenerational relationships in the context of food. The relationships range from a wish either to maintain the status quo in the relationship, or to change and rethink the relationship, and importantly, the act of maintaining or changing the family relationships may be initiated either by the grown-up child or by the parent. The study concludes that the act of moving away from home is a period of intense (re)construction of food consumption habits and skills, which draw several threads back to the family home, and relationships undergo change in various ways.
The limitations of this study are that it has been carried out only in a Danish context.
The contributions of the study are capturing the children’s view of this transition, and providing insights into how apparently mundane consumption can be full of symbolic meaning. The paper will be of interest for researchers and practitioners seeking to understand intergenerational relations and consumption.
Gram, M., Hogg, M., Blichfeldt, B.S. and MacLaran, P. (2015), "Intergenerational relationships and food consumption: the stories of young adults leaving home", Young Consumers, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 71-84. https://doi.org/10.1108/YC-01-2014-00422Download as .RIS
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