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I köttbullslandet: Konstruktionen av svenskt och utländskt på det kulinariska fältet
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.
2005 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this doctorate thesis is to investigate the historical discursive construction of swedishness and foreignness in the Swedish culinary field, primarily during the period of 1900-1970, and to relate the changes in the articulation of these concepts to the overarching ideological shifts during this time-period. To achieve this objective a conceptual apparatus inspired by cultural studies, discourse analysis and rhetorical analysis is employed upon the primary material, which consists of Swedish- and foreign-signified cookbooks published in Sweden during the period of 1600-1970.

It is further argued that communities of consumption, such as nationalized culinary cultures, are discursive constructions and that actors attempt to write individuals into these communities through the articulation of nationalized subject positions. In the thesis it is thus investigated how, when and perhaps why certain actors on a field attempt to discursively construct such communities of consumption during a certain era.

The chapters 2-5 of the thesis contain analyses of the historical construction of foreignness on the Swedish cultural field. Here various trends are traced in the construction of individual foreign cuisines, both in relation to each other and to the concept of culinary swedishness. An analysis is also made of the varied rhetoric that is used to promote foreign-signified cooking to the Swedish public during the examined time-period. It is concluded that the variations in rhetoric seem to covariate with larger ideological shifts in Swedish society.

Chapters 6 and 7 specifically examine the construction of swedishness in the culinary field by focusing on the construction of national culinary icons such as the Smörgåsbord and Husmanskost and also on the evolution of the ideas of a distinct Swedish palate and a Swedish national cuisine. As a result of this investigation the perhaps surprisingly late codification of a Swedish national cuisine during the 1960’s is noted. It is further argued that this development coincides with a shift in the popular mood, where “the Swedish way of life” increasingly comes to be seen as threatened by external forces such as foreign influences and modernity, why certain actors on the culinary field express a necessity for the codification of what is perceived of as the “true Swedish cuisine”. A paradoxical result of this urge for preservation is the construction of new cultural phenomena dressed in a traditionalist and nationalist rhetoric that anchors them in a distant past.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Acta Universitatis Stockholmiensis, 2005. , 423 p.
Stockholm Studies in Economic History, ISSN 0346-8305 ; 42
Keyword [en]
Food, cuisine, national myth, national culture, national cuisine, ideology, discourse, rhetoric, consumption, communities of consumption, authenticity, Sweden, cooking, cookbooks, culinary arts, culinary field, gastronomic field, gastronomy, nationalism, national identity
National Category
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-535ISBN: 91-85445-04-5OAI: diva2:195153
Public defence
2005-06-03, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2005-05-12 Created: 2005-05-12 Last updated: 2012-07-05Bibliographically approved

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