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Social Representations of Insects as Food: An Explorative-Comparative Study among Millennials and X-Generation Consumers

Roberto Fasanelli, Ida Galli, Roberta Riverso, Alfonso Piscitelli
Published: 24 September 2020
 by  MDPI
 in Insects
Insects , Volume 11; doi:10.3390/insects11100656

Abstract: The aim of the research here presented is to describe and compare the social representations of entomophagy co-constructed and circulating among different groups of consumers. Social representations theory (SRT) allows us to understand a social reality that the individual builds based on his own experience in everyday life symbolic exchanges, whose primary function is to adapt concepts and abstract ideas using objectification and anchoring processes. We carried out this research within the structural approach methodological framework. We explored the structure (central core and peripheral schemes) and the content (information, opinions, attitudes, and beliefs) of the social representations of entomophagy by using mixed methodological strategies (hierarchized evocations, validated scales, check-list, projective tool, open-ended questions). Data were processed employing different R packages. The main results show an essential role played by generative processes (objectification and anchoring) as well as cognitive polyphasia and thémata in the co-construction of the social representations of entomophagy. Data could help in understanding the sensory characteristics of “insects as food” that should be used or avoided, for example, in communication aimed to promote entomophagy.
Keywords: Social representations / Food Culture / Entomophagy / Cognitive Polyphasia / Thémata

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