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Matters of Fat: distaste, gut feelings and fatty materialities

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Suzanne HocknellORCiD


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This chapter draws on empirical work with eaters to analyse their experience of distaste, placing it within their classed habitus and their articulations and experiences of otherness. Focussing on edible fats, we show that the visceral sensations of fat against lips and tongue are not in themselves sufficient to engender distaste. Distaste is shaped by the interplay of multiple material, sensory and symbolic factors. Visceral encounters influence tastes, but so do fatty knowledges, beliefs and framings. For example, certain fats are often linked in media and policy documents to laziness, obesity, and working class bodies (Guthman 2011), and so become discursively associated with such meanings. Drawing on Bourdieu’s (1984) work on the habitus, Probyn’s (2000) exploration of disgust as a pushing-away of the unwelcome other, and Ahmed’s (2013) investigations of stickiness, we demonstrate that accounting for distaste can help better understand and theorise fatty eating practices and the performance of belonging.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hocknell S, MacAllister L

Editor(s): Falconer E

Series Editor(s): Anderson, J.

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Space, Taste and Affect: Atmospheres That Shape the Way We Eat

Year: 2020

Print publication date: 01/09/2020

Acceptance date: 29/06/2017

Series Title: Routledge Research in Culture, Space and Identity

Publisher: Routledge

Place Published: London

Notes: Publication due: 30 November 2018

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781138234260