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Den hand som föder dig: En studie av risk, mat och moderskap i Sverige och Polen
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
2014 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
The Hand that Feeds : A study of Risk, Food and Motherhood in Sweden and Poland (English)
Abstract [en]

This is a study of how mothers of young children relate to risk in everyday life, with an emphasis on the in­visible risks associated with modernity in general, and with food in particular. It explores variations and similarities in how mothers deal with risk in two cultural contexts: Sweden and Poland. The study is based on twenty qualitative interviews with university educated mothers of small children in Stockholm and Warsaw. While risks more generally challenge how we “get on” with our lives, mothers of young children in particular have a special relationship to risk. During pregnancy and breastfeeding they are subject to all kinds of risk minimization efforts, and mothers are ultimately held "infinitely responsible" for their children's welfare by society. Women's transition to parenthood then makes for a particularly in­teresting case as to how risks manifest in everyday life. The theoretical framework draws on modernization theory, combined with insights from cultural theory. In addition, various contributions from sociological and psychological risk research, family sociology and research on parenting and motherhood are used to highlight contextual aspects and to inter­pret the empirical results. Two aspects of the mothers’ relationship to risk and food are examined in this study: firstly, their risk constructs, i.e. what they perceive as ‘risky’ with regards to food; and, secondly, their risk management strategies, i.e. how they deal with identified risks on a practical and cognitive level. The overall risk management depicted in this study is characterized by reflexivity, critical thinking, infor­mation retrieval, attention to scientific evidence, purposely transferred trust, confidence and the ability to make fairly sophisticated tradeoffs between risks and other aspects of life. Neither the Swedish nor the Polish mothers then conform to popular notions of ‘security junkies’ or ‘paranoid parenting’. Nonetheless, the comparative approach demonstrates how contextual differences, such as general trust levels and family policy, influence both the risk constructs and the employment of different risk management strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2014. , 262 p.
Studia Sociologica Upsaliensia, ISSN 0585-5551 ; 61
Keyword [en]
risk, everyday life, sociology of risk, food, motherhood, parenting, Poland, Sweden, risk management, construction of risk, risk perception, trust
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-222698ISBN: 978-91-554-8944-1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-222698DiVA: diva2:712072
Public defence
2014-06-05, MB505, Södertörns högskola, Alfred Nobels Allé 7, Huddinge, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-05-12 Created: 2014-04-13 Last updated: 2014-07-21Bibliographically approved

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Löfmarck, Erik
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