Tag Archives | Family

A Taste of Inequality: Food’s Symbolic Value across the Socioeconomic Spectrum

Priya Fielding-Singh

Sociological Science, August 10, 2017
DOI 10.15195/v4.a17

Scholars commonly account for dietary disparities across socioeconomic status (SES) using structural explanations that highlight differences in individuals’ wealth, income, or location. These explanations emphasize food’s material value. But food also carries symbolic value. This article shows how food’s symbolic value helps drive dietary disparities. In-depth interviews with 160 parents and adolescents and 80 hours of observations with four families demonstrate how a family’s socioeconomic position in part shapes the meanings that parents attach to food. These differing meanings contribute to distinct feeding strategies across the socioeconomic spectrum: whereas low-SES parents use food to buffer against deprivation, high-SES parents provision food to fulfill classed values around health and parenting. The findings suggest that an understanding of how families’ material circumstances shape food’s symbolic value is critical to fully account for dietary differences across SES.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Priya Fielding-Singh: Department of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Stanford University
Email: priyafs@stanford.edu

Acknowledgements: This research was supported by Stanford University’s Vice Provost for Graduate Education and the Department of Sociology. I thank Tomás Jiménez, Michelle Jackson, Doug McAdam, Jeremy Freese, Christopher Gardner, Marianne Cooper, Caitlin Daniel, Kristine Kilanski, Aliya Rao, Melissa Abad, Jennifer Wang, Anshuman Sahoo, Adrienne Frech, and the students in my course, “The Social Determinants of Health,” for their constructive feedback on various drafts of this article. I am grateful to my collaborators at Hillview Central High School as well as to the families who participated in this research and shared their insights and experiences.

  • Citation:Fielding-Singh, Priya. 2017. “A Taste of Inequality: Food’s Symbolic Value across the Socioeconomic Spectrum.” Sociological Science 4: 424-448.
  • Received: June 15, 2017
  • Accepted: July 2, 2017
  • Editors: Mario Small
  • DOI: 10.15195/v4.a17

Disaster, Disruption to Family Life, and Intimate Partner Violence: The Case of the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti

Abigail Weitzman, Julia Andrea Behrman

Sociological Science, March 7, 2016
DOI 10.15195/v3.a9

Natural disasters have inherently social dimensions because they exacerbate preexisting inequalities and disrupt social norms and institutions. Despite a growing interest in the sociological aspects of disasters, few studies have quantitatively explored how disasters alter intrahousehold family dynamics. In this article, we develop and test a conceptual framework that explicates how natural disasters affect an important component of family life: intimate partner violence (IPV). We combine two waves of geocoded Demographic and Health Surveys data, collected before and after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, with spatial data on variation in the earthquake’s destruction. Our findings indicate that exposure to earthquake devastation increased the probability of both physical and sexual IPV one to two years following the disaster. These increases were accompanied by substantial changes in family functioning, the household economy, and women’s access to their social networks. Select household-level experiences during and after the earthquake, such as displacement, were also positively associated with IPV. These findings provide new insights into the multidimensional effects of disasters on family life and have important theoretical and policy implications that extend beyond the particular case of Haiti.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Abigail Weitzman: Population Studies Center, University of Michigan  Email: aweitzma@umich.edu

Julia Andrea Behrman: New York University  Email: Jab965@nyu.edu

Acknowledgements: This research was made possible with the generous support of the National Science Foundation (grant 2011117755) and theWilliam and Flora Hewlett Foundation/International Institute for Education (grant 2012-7263). Background support was also provided by the grant “Team 1000+ Saving Brain: Economic Impact of Poverty-Related Risk Factors for Cognitive Development and Human Capital” 0072-03 provided to the grantee, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, by Grand Challenges Canada. We are grateful to Paula England, Jere Behrman, and Dalton Conley for their invaluable feedback on this research. We are also grateful to Himanshu Mistry and New York University’s Data Service Studio for assisting us in our spatial analyses.

  • Citation: Weitzman, Abigail and Julia Andrea Behrman. 2016. “Disaster, Disruption to Family Life, and Intimate Partner Violence: The Case of the 2010 .” Sociological Science 3: 167-189.
  • Received: December 3, 2015.
  • Accepted: December 31, 2015.
  • Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Olav Sorenson
  • DOI: 10.15195/v3.a9