The Structure of Food Taste in 21st Century Britain

Will J Atkinson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)


This paper draws on the concepts and tools of Pierre Bourdieu to construct a comprehensive model of the contemporary British ‘food space’. It uses multiple correspondence analysis to unearth a space structured in two key dimensions revolving around the lean and the rich. A host of supplementary variables are available to examine the relationship, or homology, between food tastes and broader alimentary dispositions, including orientations toward shopping, ethics and cooking. Indicators of social position reveal the structuring of the space by economic and cultural capital as well as gender, but also, updating and nuancing Bourdieu’s own model for 1970s’ France, by age, region, ethnicity and religion. Finally, the paper examines the relationship between position in the food space and physical, mental and existential wellbeing, demonstrating that orientation toward the less healthy and the less rich, corresponding with few resources, is, in some cases, accompanied by not only hunger and deprivation but profound worry and misery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)891-908
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Sociology
Issue number4
Early online date11 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. The British Journal of Sociology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of London School of Economics and Political Science


  • Bourdieu
  • vlass
  • food
  • multiple correspondence analysis
  • taste


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