Good Conversation, Healthy Food, and Hard Work: How Organizations And Parents Frame The Family Meal
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn recent years, the already idealized practice of families sitting down together to eat a homemade meal and enjoy each other's company has been bolstered by academic research that suggests family meals are good for children. In response to these findings, several organizations have launched campaigns promoting family meals. In this dissertation, I compare the ways family meals are framed by the organizations that promote them to how parents frame them by conducting a qualitative content analysis of ten campaign websites and interviews with 46 parents. The sample of campaigns represents commercial and nonprofit organizations, and the sample of parents varies by income and marital status, allowing me to determine whether frames used by a certain type of organization are likely to resonate with certain demographics. My findings suggest that while organizational framing of family meals is sometimes similar to way parents frame them, there are some important disjunctions that are likely to decrease the potential effectiveness of the campaigns. In general, campaigns frame family meals more in terms of conversation and what happens around the table, while parents frame them more in terms of food and labor. When campaign frames do match parents' frames, they align more closely with higher-income and married parents, particularly in the case of commercial organizations, while nonprofit campaigns align more closely with lower-income and single parents. This project contributes to the literatures on framing, social marketing, and consumption by using frame analysis to gauge the potential effectiveness of the promotion of a set of everyday consumption practices. It provides insight into how parents think about and perform the tasks involved in creating family meals within an organizational context and the creation of cultural discourse about them. A practical application is using this information to improve the promotion of family meals, particularly for lower-income and single parents.
Degree ProgramGraduate College