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Food Waste in Everyday Life --The Power Relationship between People and Food Waste

Lunds universitet/Avdelningen för etnologi
Publication Date
  • Identity
  • Domestic Food Waste
  • Definition
  • Maca
  • Power
  • Relationship
  • Cultural Sciences
  • Anthropology


Domestic food waste is a concept that recently has gained a lot of interest in the waste management industry. While people’s daily practices have converged more cultural and social symbols with food waste and keep re-defining and re-constructing the domestic food waste system, food waste then has emerged as a way to explain the real meaning hidden behind the everyday practices. By studying literature, conducting ethnographic fieldwork, as well as using cultural and anthropological theory to analyze empirical materials, my ambition is to answer the following questions: * What and how do people define food waste? * As the subject, do the human beings have a power over the domestic food waste? * Though being generated by humans, does domestic food waste hold power over people? * How does this power relationship influence people and domestic food waste in the daily practice? This study focuses on domestic food waste as an ethnographic symbolic material and reflections of unnoticed meanings behind people’s daily interaction. The study further emphasizes the presumption that the power relationship between people and domestic food waste is interactive. The thesis shows that food waste is an outcome of people’s systematic reconstruction of their own life environment. During the daily interaction with it, the rules of hygiene become an important intervention influencing people’s behavior. The study also points out that food waste is powerful since it reveals lifestyle and cultural identity. The general conclusion is that both human being and food waste have power over each other. The study finally argues that cultural circumstances should be taken into consideration.

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