RSO-22306 Food Culture and Customs


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper
Excursion (one day)8
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. JAB Duncan
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. CN van der Weele
dr. JAB Duncan
Examiner(s)dr. JAB Duncan
prof. dr. CN van der Weele

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Some personal experience with food across different cultures.


Studying food is a way of studying some of the big questions that occupy social scientists. This course examines the role that food plays in customs and across cultures. Food culture is the expression of how people value food and everything connected to food. As such, this course is an exploration into the ever changing social functions of food. This does not mean we will look at different cultures around the world. Instead, it entails an examination of the attitudes and assumptions that shape people's lives; the rituals and beliefs that mark their identities; the role of ethics in food choice; and the ways foods are grown, processed, sold and consumed in particular places.

Learning outcomes:

- after successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand different cultural, social and ethical perspectives on the meaning of food in connection to cultures, social relations;
- assess the different roles and meanings which food taboos can have across food cultures;
- assess the construction of authenticity across cuisines;
- assess the relationship between taste and distinction along cultural and class lines;
- analyse the role of identity on food cultures and individual food choices;
- formulate ethical arguments in relation to seeing animals as sources of food;
- analyse tensions between sociological and moral approaches to identity.


- lectures;
- guest lectures;
- discussions;
- tutorials;
- group assignments;
- excursion.


- written exam with open questions (55%);
- 1 group assignment (15%);
- 2 individual assignments (30%).
To be admitted to the exam the assignments have to be completed. Both written exam and the assignments need a minimum mark of 5.5 for a final pass of the course.


During the course scientific articles and other materials will be made available.

Restricted Optional for: MFTFood TechnologyMScI: Gastronomy2MO