From flesh to food: Exploring consumers’ fluctuations in hysteresis

Chloe Steadman*, Dominic Medway, Anna de Jong, Peter Varley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number147059312311608
Pages (from-to)489-508
Number of pages20
JournalMarketing Theory
Issue number3
Early online date1 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023

Cite this