History and Sociology of Food


This curricular unit intends to provide skills for understanding the food phenomenon in all its complexity.
At the end of the course, the student should have knowledge about:

a) The evolution of eating habits of humanity from its origins to today;
b) The body and health as a social construction. Main relevant sociological concepts for the analysis of social conditions in the health-disease and its relationship to food in contemporary society.
c) The act of feeding and eating habits acquired in the socialization process.


General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof.ª Doutora Conceição Calhau


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





  • Myers, D. Social Psychology - 7th edi. MaGraw-Hill. Boston, 2002
  • Toussaint-Samat, M., History of Food, WileyBlackwell, 2008 
  • LE BRETON, David. A Sociologia do Corpo. Petrópolis: Vozes, 2006.
    POULAIN, Jean Pierre. Sociologias da Alimentação: Os comedores e o espaço social alimentar. Florianópolis: UFSC, 2004.
  • SANTOS, Ligia Amparo da Silva. O corpo, o comer e a comida. Salvador: EDUFBA, 2008.

Teaching method

The course is organized in lectures: 2 weekly lectures for all students with a duration of 50 min each. There will be collaboration with Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas of Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

Evaluation method

The evaluation has a final exam graded from 0 to 20.

Subject matter

1) The contribution of the history of food to the knowledge of human eating behavior:

  • Primitive Food; the fire and the first cooking utensils; the primitive kitchen and the first cooking techniques; from antiquity to the discoveries;
  • Globalization and cultures exchange; social and religious aspects of the installation of traditions;
  • The invention of the restaurant and mass tourism; books, and criticism; the evolution in the face of traditions; new kitchens, fashion and communication.


2) The body: the body in the biomedical model: historical elements; social classes and the use of the body; the cult of the body; construction of healthy and pathological: a process and its dimensions.

3) The act of feeding: sociological considerations about diet, eating and food; social classes and diet; food and construction of identities; food social space and food models; changing eating habits: understand the meaning of eating.



Programs where the course is taught: