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Gendered and gendering practices of food and cooking: An inquiry into authorisation, legitimisation and androcentric dividends in three social fields
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
2014 (English)In: Norma, ISSN 1890-2138, E-ISSN 1890-2146, Vol. 9, no 4, 269-285 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to discuss gendered and gendering practices of food and cooking. Focusing mainly on Sweden, we discuss how these practices are privileged or disfavoured through acts of authorisation and legitimisation. Through a perspective of critical studies on men and masculinities (CSMM) and with inspiration from Bourdieu's concept of social fields, we have inquired into three fields in which practices of food and cooking are produced, consumed and communicated: the field of conspicuousness, the field of welfare state institutions and the domestic field. We show the gendered and gendering characteristics of these fields in Sweden and argue that androcentric dividends privilege some fields and actors in these fields more than others. This article's main contribution is to expand on previous research on food and gender and further explain Swedish men's increased interest in and assumption of responsibility for food and cooking in the domestic field. First, there is the enhanced status of the field owing to greater incorporation of gastronomy. Second, food and cooking practices do not seem to be associated with emasculation in contemporary Western society, and Sweden's gender-egalitarian ideology may have a particularly strong legitimising impact on Swedish men's food and cooking practices.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2014. Vol. 9, no 4, 269-285 p.
National Category
Gender Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-234668DOI: 10.1080/18902138.2014.967985OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-234668DiVA: diva2:757431
Available from: 2014-10-22 Created: 2014-10-22 Last updated: 2016-09-23
In thesis
1. Stories of masculinity, gender equality, and culinary progress: On foodwork, cooking, and men in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stories of masculinity, gender equality, and culinary progress: On foodwork, cooking, and men in Sweden
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The general aim of this thesis is to use foodwork and cooking in Sweden as a way to better understand theoretical questions about men and masculinities. Paper I discusses how an increased public interest in elaborate cooking and gastronomy in Sweden, a country with a cultural idealization of gender equality, could explain why men in Sweden assume responsibilities for domestic cooking without feeling emasculated. Papers II, III and IV draw on interviews with 31 men from 22 to 88 years of age and with different levels of interest in food. Paper II shows how domestic foodwork and cooking are associated with ideas of Swedish progress in terms of gender equality and culinary skills. Paper III demonstrates further that domestic cooking is not only a responsibility which men assume, but also a way of being sociable with friends, partners and children. Thus, both papers II and III challenge the idea that men only cook at home if they enjoy it. The data rather indicate that domestic foodwork responsibilities are a cultural expectation of men in Sweden, ingrained in desirable masculine practices. Paper IV explores men’s responses to media representations of food. The interviewed men responded to these representations with indifference, pragmatism, irony, and at times even hostility. In general, the responses are based on gender and age-differentiated taste distinctions and notions of masculine and culinary excess. Paper V uses a mix of texts (81 online texts and two magazines) and observations from the food fairs GastroNord (2014 and 2016), Mitt kök-mässan (2014) and the chef competition Bocuse d’Or Europe (2014) complemented with pictures and videos. I argue that a Swedish culinary community that promotes Swedish culinary excellence is constructed by drawing on preestablished national (self-)images. This culinary community is constructed as open and tolerant, with ethical concerns for the environment and for nonhuman animals. Its culinary icons are represented by chefs in whites and the leading restaurants. In sum, this dissertation provides empirical and theoretical contributions to both food studies and gender studies that critically scrutinize men and masculinities. Food-issues are permeated by gender, both in people’s everyday life and in the gastronomic elite.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 106 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 132
foodwork, cooking, food studies, men and masculinities, gender equality, domestic work, culinary excellence, food, gastronomy, celebrity chefs, national identity, androcentrism, homosociality
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Gender Studies Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Food, Nutrition and Dietetics
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-301494 (URN)978-91-554-9701-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-11-11, A1: 107a, Uppsala Biomedical Centre (BMC), Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2016-10-20 Created: 2016-08-23 Last updated: 2016-10-20

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Publisher's full texthttp://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/18902138.2014.967985#.VEd5A_msVrI

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