Studying the Content and Construction of Ethical Lives in the Context of Affluent Society. a Case of (im)Moderation in Everyday Food Consumption

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Anna SALONEN, University of Helsinki, Finland
Foodways reveal fundamental aspects of us as humans, including our attitudes towards and relationships with others and the environment as well as the most pivotal individual, social and ecological problems of our time. This paper provides preliminary insights from a study that explores how people who do not necessarily identify as religious and who live in diverse or secular societies construct their identities in relation to and in cooperation with other people and the non-human world, by taking foodways as a starting point. The study starts from the premise that even in non-religious settings, as “secular spiritual disciplines” (Grummet, 2014:4), foodways constitute a sphere of everyday life where meanings, significance, purpose and order are constructed and maintained. In everyday food consumption, we are constantly invited to pose the question of how to lead an ethically sound life in the midst of culture characterized by excess and waste. They thus provide a window into analysing how the question of how much is enough is posed and dealt with in today’s affluent world. The study focuses in particular on the virtue of moderation: What is considered as adequate, suitable, sufficient or reasonable with regard to food consumption in an affluent society? By doing so, the paper provides food for thought into theoretical reflection on ordinary ethical conduct and lived (non)religion in the secular contexts.