While identity has been a dominant topic in research on food choice, literature on identity in consumers' everyday life is scarce. In this article we draw on insights from discursive psychology to demonstrate how members of an online forum on food pleasure handle the hedonic appreciation of food in everyday interaction. We examined 40 discussions consisting of 1715 e-mails related to culinary topics. The analysis focuses on the way in which the participants of this forum work up and establish their identities as 'gourmets'. A dominant tool in performing this identity work is the discursive construction of independent access to knowledge of and experience with food items, so as to compete with or resist the epistemic superiority of a preceding evaluation. Data are presented with nine examples of the 73 manifestations of the construction of independent access. Contrary to sensory approaches to food choice, this study depicts the enjoyment of food as an interactional achievement rather than a pure physiological sensation. Wider implications of this study for the relation between food, identity and taste are discussed.
- Discursive psychology
- Food choice