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Sustainable Consumption Institute

Desynchronisation of people and practices in working households

The way we eat has some detrimental effects on our health, the environment and social cohesion.

Time-poverty, feeling rushed and lacking quality time – often attributed to juggling competing demands of work and family life – is a societal problem often associated with poor eating habits. These critical concerns are high on personal and public agendas and, together, demand attention. This project, funded by British Academy under their Postdoctoral Fellowship scheme, aims to address this issue.

Our aims

Chef preparing pizzas at Levenshulme Market, University of Manchester

Bringing together understandings from the sociologies of food and work, the aim of this research is to explore how working arrangements and schedules shape:

  • how much food preparation we do
  • the combination of meals and snacks consumed
  • the way we eat
  • when we eat
  • whether we eat at home or eat out
  • with whom we eat.

The research takes a comparative, mixed-methods approach to examine shifting patterns and mechanisms underpinning the temporal organisation of employment and eating between 1975 and 2015.

It will generate empirically-evidenced, theoretically-grounded insights that speak to critical and policy-relevant debates about poor eating habits and work-life balance in the UK.

Project leader