The Social, Cultural and Health Aspects of Food in a Global Industry: The Case of Seafarers

Polina Baum-Talmor

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Published conference proceedingConference contribution


    Key words: Food; Globalisation; Health; Multicultural work environment; Shipping.

    Food plays a vital role in our lives, whether we want it to or not. But what role does food play for workers in a highly isolated and multinational work environment? Building upon two qualitative research projects which involved in-depth research with over 100 maritime related individuals, this paper seeks to extend our understanding of the cultural, social and health issues surrounding food on board cargo ships. In the particularly globalised and unique work setting of shipping, the maritime industry involves seafarers working in multinational work environments i.e. cargo ships, where they spend long periods of time away from their families in an isolated work environment, and often experience poor working conditions such as long working hours without holidays for periods lasting for up to a year at a time. Within this context, food can play an important role in seafarers’ lives well beyond the basic human need, as it can influence their physical and psychological wellbeing while on board. In this context, future research areas will be discussed. As the ship has been previously likened and compared to other closed institutions including prisons and mental health hospitals (1, 5, 6), findings from this research potentially have implications for research in other closed and restricted working environments.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationN/A
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2019


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