Risk and Change in Everyday Food Habits

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 17:15
Location: Hörsaal 46 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Jorid ANDERSSEN, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway
This paper analyses the relationship between food, health risks and society. The paper is based on four separate fieldworks over a period close to 35 years (from 1981-2015) in a small coastal community in northern Norway. The village was earlier an isolated fishery community where people got most of their food from the sea and from their small farms. Some years before my first fieldwork, they got a road that connected the village to the municipal center. The women started to work outside the home, the farms were shut down and people started to buy most of their food.

During my study period, there has been a tremendous change in food habits in the village, from more traditional food to semi-manufactured food, and in the last fieldwork more local grown food. Preventive medicine and risk for disease have gradually been integrated in their everyday food choices. The women were the drivers to change the families food habits in accordance with official health advises. Sometimes the women had to “force” the men to change their diet. For men food was not only about health, they wanted food that tasted good, and they liked traditional, “unhealthy” food. During my last fieldwork (2014/15), the men in the village were the drivers for implementing more local grown food. They said that local food tasted better. They also argued that it is healthier since it is “cleaner”. Men has also started taking up fishing, hunting, and they have invested in expensive equipment in order to preserve food.

In this paper I will discuss the changes in food habits in this village in relation to their perception of food, risk and health. The relationship between the genders will also be discussed.