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'Food with a purpose': Home Economics teachers' construction of food and home
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3948-5714
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Education.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
2011 (English)In: International Journal of Consumer Studies, ISSN 1470-6423, E-ISSN 1470-6431, Vol. 35, no 5, 514-519 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Food and home are central issues in the Home Economics curriculum. The aim of the present paper was to explore how Home Economics teachers make sense of and manage being teachers in this particular subject and how they talk about food and home. This was achieved by conducting four focus groups with 25 participants, 23 women and two men, all with experience from working as Home Economics teachers. Participants were recruited from all over Sweden through emails. The data analysis was conducted in three steps and was guided by social constructionist theory. The main findings were the themes of Home Economics as food with a purpose, teachers with a public health commission, the fostering teacher, tangible cooking and the deficient home. The results show that Home Economics is constructed as a site for 'proper knowledge' about food in relation to a 'deficient home'. Food in Home Economics was thus constructed as having a purpose.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 35, no 5, 514-519 p.
Keyword [en]
Home Economics, teachers, constructionism, food, home
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-158155DOI: 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2011.01014.xISI: 000293749800005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-158155DiVA: diva2:438810
Available from: 2011-09-05 Created: 2011-09-01 Last updated: 2014-01-07Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Contested Food: The Construction of Home and Consumer Studies as a Cultural Space
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Contested Food: The Construction of Home and Consumer Studies as a Cultural Space
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Education about and for the home has been part of the Swedish education system for over one hundred years, and Home and Consumer Studies (HCS) has been compulsory for all pupils since the common nine-year school system was introduced in 1962. For all this time food has been a central theme, however we know very little of what food means in this context. The aim of this thesis was to seek to understand the construction of food in HCS. This thesis consists of four papers that explore food in HCS from the perspective of teachers and pupils, the role of the classroom and how food in HCS is part of a larger cultural context. Observations and focus group interviews were used to collect data. The material consists of field notes from 13 days in three HCS classrooms and transcripts of focus group interviews with 25 HCS-teachers and 20 pupils. The analytical methods used were based on social constructionist assumptions which were supplemented by theories on culture, space and spatiality. Results show that teachers constructed both pupils’ homes and society in general as deficient in relation to health. Their role, as public health commissioners, was to educate pupils about food on issues such as health and sustainability. Pupils relied on their personal experiences from home to make sense of food in HCS. To them, home was the authentic place for food where everyday life took place. Food in HCS on the other hand was de-authenticised and sometimes hard to make sense of. This meant that there was a limited shared understanding between pupils and teachers. A spatial analysis of the HCS classroom as a learning space for food showed that past ideologies and traditional power geometries were built into the physical layout and social relationships constructing the room. Food in HCS was found to reflect cultural values of the surrounding society at the same time as a specific HCS cuisine emerged. Food in HCS was thus constructed as contested in interaction between food, pupils, teachers and classroom as well as in relation to a wider context. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2013. 101 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 89
Home and Consumer Studies, food, social constructionism, school, teachers, pupils, classroom
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Food, Nutrition and Dietetics
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-204458 (URN)978-91-554-8712-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-09-20, BMC C2:301, Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2013-08-30 Created: 2013-08-05 Last updated: 2014-01-07

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Höijer, KarinHjälmeskog, KarinFjellström, Christina
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Department of Food, Nutrition and DieteticsDepartment of Education
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