The Cultural Image of Food

By: Afshana Hoque  

The paper used an online survey to investigate whether people associate meanings to the food behaviors of other cultures, and if people’s like or dislike for a particular ethnic food group impact their outlook on people belonging to that ethnicity. Open-ended questionnaires were used to gather data for the study. A total of 114 undergraduate and graduate students of a large mid-western American university participated in the study. Thematic analysis identified themes from participant’s responses, guided by semiotics and social identity theory. Participants described three major food groups, Chinese, Italian, and Mexican, that they perceived as the most popular international cuisines. The themes that emerged fell into two broad categories: themes about the food and themes about the people of that culture. The findings of the study demonstrate the importance of food-signifiers that play a central role in shaping people’s perception of different food groups. The study further indicated the presence of stereotyped opinions by participants while describing their perception of other cultures.

Food, Culture, International
Food, Politics, and Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Afshana Hoque

Graduate Assistant, Media Relations, Illinois State University, United States
United States