Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    From flesh to food: exploring consumers’ fluctuations in hysteresis

    Steadman, Chloe ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1132-3502, Medway, Dominic ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6102-1716, de Jong, Anna and Varley, Peter (2023) From flesh to food: exploring consumers’ fluctuations in hysteresis. Marketing Theory. ISSN 1470-5931

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    Bourdieu’s interrelated concepts of habitus and field have been deployed to theorise the unreflexive consumption practices characterising much of consumers’ everyday lives. Less is known, however, about the disruptive experience when habitus and field suddenly misalign- which Bourdieu terms ‘hysteresis’. We address this lacuna by studying smalahove (sheep’s head) consumption involving participant observation at a Norwegian smalahove farm—an unsettling space within the food consumption field that may challenge many consumers’ habitual ways of seeing, smelling, hearing, touching and tasting meat. Our core contribution lies in introducing a dynamic conceptualisation of hysteresis, demonstrating how it fluctuates in consumption environments; intensifying and diminishing in intensity as the gaps between habitus and field open and close.

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