Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 2017

Major Department or Program



Rachel George


Food is deeply intertwined with culture, from the ways in which it is produced to the ways it is understood. Food advertisements are a particularly salient piece of food culture that transmit and reflect values about food. Cereal commercials, in particular, feature culturally salient portrayals of normative food values. Specific values of family, morality, and health are analyzed in cereal commercials beginning in the 1950s and going through present day. These values can be analyzed as part of larger cultural phenomena surrounding ideas about food consumption. Furthermore, these cultural phenomena are implicated in a discourse around obesity in both adults and children. The cereal commercials analyzed in this thesis participate in a discourse of health and obesity as part of the production of knowledge of what is healthy and what is moral when it comes to food and its relationship to the body. Through studying the ways in which knowledge about health is produced, we gain an understanding of the underlying contributors to obesity and health problems and how these issues are understood.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Prepared cereals, Advertising and children, Food -- Cultural aspects, Food habits -- United States -- History -- 21st century, Social norms -- American families, Breakfast cereals --Marketing, Whitman College -- Dissertation collection 2017 -- Anthropology Department

Permanent URL

Document Type

Public Accessible Thesis

Included in

Anthropology Commons



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