This thesis explores cultural constructions of health, health foods, and natural foods shared by people who shop at a health food co-op. Two theoretical models were reviewed. The first theory relates beliefs about health to ecological setting, and the other theorizes that health food movement has many characteristics which fit Geertz's definition of religion. Data was collected through participant observation, informal and formal interviews, and surveys. The surveys were designed to reveal what cultural categories co-op customers shared regarding health and foods. The findings supported both theoretical models. The findings revealed that Co-op customers shared both "internal" and "external" explanations for health and illness. In addition, co-op customers also shared the system of symbols and worldview of the health food movement. This system of symbols and worldview is characteristic of a "little" religion. A further study might look at how constructions of health and health food differ cross-culturally.
Sociology and Anthropology
Leed, Christina, "Cooperative Culture: a Study of Cultural Constructions of Health and Health Foods at One Co-Op" (1997). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 6333.
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 1997 Christina Leed