Within the last decades, it became more and more apparent that the body’s immune and metabolic systems react to the modern Western lifestyle with a state of chronic, low-grade inflammation, termed metaflammation. This inflammatory condition is associated with increased activity of immune cells subsets in different organs, and metaflammation contributes to the development of non-communicable diseases (NCD). Nowadays, NCDs represent a rising public health problem with global pandemic dimensions affecting Western societies and increasingly also the populations in low- and middle-income countries. The preservation of healthy life should thus be an urgent goal of public health efforts, however, international multimodal strategies are necessary to tackle an unhealthy and obesogenic lifestyle that is deeply integrated into Western cultures and meanwhile expanding in low- and middle-income developing countries as well. The Ö-project will be conducted as a joined transdisciplinary public health project between the Institute of Innate Immunity and the Institute for Political Sciences and Sociology. Cultural sociology deals with the social practices, values, norms, and actions linked to the historical onset of a modern Western lifestyle. The focus of the project lies in the investigation of ambivalences, contradictions,and dilemmas of individual actions regarding the forms of social discipline within modern societies.Investigations are taken to understand the more profound mechanisms and dynamics of individual and collective actions concerning dietary habits and consumer behaviour. From a cultural sociological perspective, the consumption of unhealthy Western diets linked to a Western lifestyle is considered as a cultural symptom of modern societies. Altered nutritional behaviours are considered as a connector between medical pathologies and social changes.
Generally, the comprehensive social disciplining of large sections of the population as an adaptation of behavioural standards to social environments are driven by three practices: 1. rule (standardization,prohibition), 2. enlightenment (appeal and education), 3. fashion (rules of courtesy, lifestyles worth imitating). In the Ö-project, we aim to assess whether these practices (rule, enlightenment, fashion) determine current Western lifestyle behaviour. Therefore, consumer behaviour and dietary patterns will be assessed within different status groups in the social life worlds of hospitals. The project will combine ethnographic fieldwork with problem-centred interviews. The collected data will be evaluated based on grounded theory methodology (Aim 1). Moreover, the different forms of social discipline will be applied, in the form of medical science-based workshops, trainings, scientific exhibitions and canteen health week executions, to examine whether consumer behaviour can be tackled or altered (Aim 2). In Aim 3, we concentrate on public outreach, and we are planning to conduct public relations. Here, the most recent biomedical research results from the CRC1454 and other results in the field that are relevant for outreach activities will be shared and discussed with different stakeholders on the governmental and the federal state level, and prospectively being integrated in the establishment of science-related setting-based preventive intervention strategies.