Food sensitivities and bodily sedition: From vulnerability to a moral ideal?

By Virginie Wolff


Based on interviews and ethnographic observations of individuals who avoid gluten-containing foods, this article proposes to show how food sensitivity is not a given. Rather, it is the outcome of a self-optimization process that transforms the body’s vulnerability into a resource for self-knowledge and self-enhancement. Through a subtle deciphering of bodily sensations, individuals who adopt a “free-from” diet claim that they are adopting a new ethics and a new pragmatism. Food sensitivity also becomes a language expressing a conflictual relationship with the contemporary social model.


  • body
  • food sensitivity
  • gluten
  • path (trajectory)
  • vulnerability
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