Commensality and identification in a Christian context: stable and transient elements

Stephanos Avakian, Pavlos Stavrakakis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, we investigate self-identification and experiences of transition
in environments involving eating together. We examine Christian religious
environments as settings in which a sense of belonging is historically embedded
and explore the social structure of a generic Christian institutional identity.
Practices of commensality in Christian contexts provide some of the earliest
historical examples of community building; hence, the religious backdrop is
treated as an exemplar of social properties through which to interpret entries
into and exits from such communities. Settings in which people eat together are
increasingly recognized for their prosocial impact in improving social wellbeing
and promoting a sense of belongingness. However, little consideration
has been given to how and why individuals come to establish deeper ties by
participating in value-centred communities (Beach, 2018; Smith and Reid,
2018). Hence, we address the questions of how people develop a sense of
identification with others through commensality, and why such experiences
stimulate emotional considerations of belongingness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEating Together in the Twenty-first Century
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Challenges, Community Values, Individual Wellbeing
EditorsTamas Lestar, Manuela Manuela Pilato, Hugues Seraphin
ISBN (Print)9781032447698
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2023


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