Karin Höijer
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Home and Consumer Studies at Högskolan Kristianstad is nationally and internationally a recognized high quality field of study and research, working for a sustainable and healthy society through deep expertise and with an interdisciplinary approach.

My research-interests primarily concerns the Swedish compulsory school subject Home and Consumer Studies (which can be described as the Swedish version of home economics), and in this context more specifically the meaning of food and space. I defended my PhD-dissertation "Contested food: the construction of Home and Consumer Studies as a cultural space" in 2013.

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, and the aim of my thesis was to seek to understand the construction of food in HCS. My thesis consisted of four papers that explored 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 analytical methods used were based on social constructionist assumptions which were supplemented by theories on culture, space and spatiality. Results showed 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.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Didactics (50302)


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