Reflection: Snatched Commensality: To eat or not to eat together in times of Covid-19 in France

Fourat Estelle, Fournier Tristan, Lepiller Olivier. 2021. Reflection: Snatched Commensality: To eat or not to eat together in times of Covid-19 in France. Food and Foodways, 10 p.

Journal article ; Article de recherche
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Liste HCERES des revues (en SHS) : oui

Thème(s) HCERES des revues (en SHS) : Histoire; Histoire et philosophie des sciences; Histoire, histoire de l'art, archéologie

Abstract : During the Covid-19 pandemic, the French Government imposed a strict lockdown from March 17th to May 11th 2020. These extraordinary times challenged the social norm of commensality, a practice that is particularly strong and engrained in France. How has lockdown impacted meal-sharing habits? How have the rules and norms of commensality withstood the weakening of social bonds caused by lockdown? Based on a qualitative study of 20 socially diverse households, this essay proposes a typology of adaptive commensal eating patterns: 1) Eating together can provide reassurance by reproducing ordinary routines or by enacting food traditions; 2) Tinkering with lockdown rules leads to creative new forms of commensality, or to an ersatz of commensality; 3) Sharing every meal with the same people can trigger the rejection of commensal practices. These patterns may also represent possible phases in the experience of lockdown, since some individuals shifted from one pattern to another. The final part of the paper discusses the very nature of the social link highlighted through the lens of commensality.

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Santé publique, COVID-19, distanciation physique, Comportement alimentaire, Comportement social, Comportement culturel, enquêtes auprès des ménages, enquête sanitaire

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : France

Mots-clés complémentaires : confinement

Mots-clés libres : Food, Commensality, Lockdown, Social link, COVID-19, France

Classification Agris : S01 - Human nutrition - General aspects
U70 - Social sciences, economics and humanities
S50 - Human health

Champ stratégique Cirad : CTS 3 (2019-) - Systèmes alimentaires

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Fourat Estelle, CNRS (FRA)
  • Fournier Tristan, CNRS (FRA) - auteur correspondant
  • Lepiller Olivier, CIRAD-ES-UMR MOISA (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0003-2564-8260

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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