Peasant Food Culture: A Theoretical Approach to Regional Cultural Comparison (with a Case Study)

by Jan Aksel Klitgaard

Institution: University of Iceland
Year: 2015
Keywords: Þjóðfræði
Record ID: 1221982
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/21673


This thesis is a study of food culture as a means of examining regional identity and includes a comparative case study of nineteenth-century peasant foodways in western Denmark and northern Iceland respectively. It has been conducted in order to clarify certain issues concerning foodways as a lens for examining notions of group, identity and tradition and their connection to the natural environment, using older and contemporary anthropological and folkloristic works on these topics and modern cultural theory. In its case study, the thesis reflects upon answers to questionnaires sent out by the national museums in both countries during the mid-twentieth century using qualitative research method to look for normative statements with regard to foodways. The project argues that food is a highly applicable means of studying culture. It argues in particular in the case study that notions of belonging and group identity are of the utmost importance for communities and their behavior; that foodways are rarely as self-evident as expected; and that human agency plays a significant role with regard to which food sources are chosen by people.