Seven dimensions of taste: taste in a sociological and educational perspective

Karen Wistoft, Lars Qvortrup

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The chapter presents a sociological theory of taste ending with a short proposal for a didactics of taste. The first section is inspired and informed by the German sociologist Niklas Luhmann’s systems theory. It deals with taste in a sociological perspective. The basic idea is that taste is more than what our taste buds and our senses tell us. Taste has a number of social and cultural dimensions such as deliciousness, health, morality, love, faith, and trendiness, and in fact, we can only communicate about taste, when these dimensions are taken into consideration. We sense with the taste buds, but we taste with the “cultural senses”. This section presents a systematic division of taste into its seven main dimensions: The dimension of sensed taste, delicious taste, healthy taste, moral taste, loving taste, religious taste, and trendy taste.
The final, shorter section comprises taste as an instrument of and an objective for teaching. Here, the intention is to use ‘taste’ as a means to teach home economics and food education. This section answers the question of how to teach in a way that enables the students to develop knowledge and skills in relation to the seven dimensions of taste. In this section, seven knowledge types and forms of argument are presented, each related to one of the seven taste dimensions, providing a basis for structuring an appropriate curriculum of taste. The final aim is to enable students to make well-reasoned food decisions with ‘taste’ as the compass of judgment and, with these faculties, to take part in a sensus communis, i.e. a taste community.
Translated title of the contributionSyv smagsdimensioner: Havd er smag og hvordan kan vi undervise i smag
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGastronomy and food science
EditorsCharis Galanakis
Number of pages24
Place of publicationAmsterdam
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)9780128200575
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Taste
  • Taste dimensions
  • Systems Theory
  • Food education
  • Didatics
  • Sociology


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  • TASTE Didactics

    Karen Wistoft (Organizer)

    20 Sept 202321 Sept 2023

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in or organisation of workshop, seminar or course

  • Food Studies 2022

    Karen Wistoft (Participant)

    23 Oct 202224 Oct 2022

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in or organisation af a conference

  • Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal (Journal)

    Karen Wistoft (Editor) & Lars Qvortrup (Editor)

    15 Jan 20229 Dec 2022

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of Research journalResearch

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