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Föreställningar om mat och ätande: Risk, kropp, identitet och den "ifrågasatta" maten i vår tid
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2007 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Notions of food and eating : Risk, identity, the body and ‘contested’ food in contemporary society (English)
Abstract [en]

In Western society, food is debated and in various ways contested. Social science research has described various cultural imperatives related to food and choices of diet, that raises questions about how people understand issues of food and eating in their everyday lives. The aim of this study is to explore everyday notions of food and eating in urban Sweden. Drawing on social representations theory, qualitative interviews were carried out with fifteen men and women about their experiences and understandings of food and eating, also using a photo-elicitation method where visual material from cookery books and dietary advice were used as a point of departure for the interview conversation.

The interviewees categorize food into different sorts, such as ‘ordinary food’, ‘modern food’, ‘dangerous food’, ‘healthy food’, ‘ethic food’ and ‘festive food’, that are ascribed a meaning in relation to different arenas in time and space, for instance childhood, and related to health values as well as ethical and aesthetic values. Food is also discussed as different diets, such as mixed or vegetarian, and patterns of eating, which are in turn related to risk, health and the body. The analysis thus reveal notions about what food is and how we should eat, notions that are characterised by internal tensions and contradictions such as discipline contra pleasure, societal norms contra personal interests, everyday life contra ideals. These ‘fields of tension’ are analysed as a cultural repertoire of identity-positions. Finally, these results are discussed in terms of risk and opportunities, where the reflexive human being is depicted as able to both incorporate food imperatives and to challenge these imperatives in a process of striving for bodily and mental balance.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Pedagogiska institutionen , 2007. , 267 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar från Pedagogiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, ISSN 1104-1625 ; 141
Keyword [sv]
food, eating, social representations, photo-elicitation interviews, risk, the body, identity
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-7028ISBN: 978-91-7155-487-1OAI: diva2:197501
Public defence
2007-09-21, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 A, Stockholm, 13:00
Available from: 2007-08-27 Created: 2007-08-27Bibliographically approved

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