Måltidens paradoxer. Om klass och kön i vardagens familjepraktiker
Sammanfattning: In this thesis the relation between the everyday meal, the doings of family and the reproduction of difference in Swedish everyday family life is explored. The thesis has a qualitative approach and interviews with parents from different class and ethnic backgrounds and family constellations, but all with children under the age of 8 years old, is the empirical basis. Using sociological and feminist theories that focus on peoples’ experiences and doings and how they are related to relations of ruling, the analysis aims to understand how family is done in Sweden. Taking the point of departure in questions such as how can the practice of feeding be understood as a central hub for how family is done? What does the work of feeding imply in relation to assumptions of the gender equal Sweden? How do the parents interviewed relate to norms about feeding and parenting and what importance do these attitudes have for how class is experienced and reproduced? In the thesis it is argued that the practice of feeding is fundamental for how family is established in today’s Sweden. It is also an important point of departure to understand how relations of class and gender are being reproduced in everyday life. It is also argued that children play a central part in what is considered as “family” in Sweden. The practice of feeding is at the same time a unifying and separating practice where communion between family members, generations, friends and others is established but also a practice where difference is recreated and manifested. Even though Sweden has a long history of approaching gender equality women still continues to have the main responsibility for housework and care of children and a significant relationship between gender and feeding work is identified. Here it is argued that there is a need of an expanded work-concept that also includes the emotional and caring work. The work is not only about performing certain tasks but also how (mainly) the women live with and keep the family and its needs “in their head”. It is also argued that certain types of food, products and ingredients (such as sugar) are fundamental for how a division of class is recreated on a level of everyday life in Swedish families and that there is a strong relationship between “good” meals and “good” and respectable parenting. By taking the point of departure in the practice of feeding the dissertation contributes to the understanding of how family is done in today’s Sweden and how unequal relationships are recreated in one of the most central practices of everyday life.
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