Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/14463
Title: Consuming Expectations : an exploration of foodways in relation to health and maternity among Nepalis living in Norway.
Authors: Vidnes, Thea
Advisors: Parker, M
Staples, J
Liana, C
Keywords: South Asian;Diaspora;Diet, nutritionism and public health;Middle Class;Ethnographic
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: This thesis focuses on Nepalis living in Oslo and Ås, Norway, and ethnographically explores their food perceptions, habits and practices in relation to health and maternal health. With pre-existing experience of both biomedical and other understandings of health and wellbeing, the majority of my respondents could and did move between paradigms, on an individual basis deciding which to apply and when. Consequently, several demonstrated certain reasoned divergences from Norwegian state-endorsed dietary norms and expectations; differences that were, however, not simply reducible to ‘culture’. ‘Culture’ is shown here to be a favoured strategy of explanation within Norwegian public health research, which has dominated state health perceptions of all South Asians. Overall, four key arguments are advanced. Firstly, the need to disaggregate the category of ‘South Asian’, currently readily employed within public health research and policies worldwide to describe and problematise the foodways of highly diverse diaspora populations. The middle-class status of my Nepali respondents is delineated as a central example exposing the inaccuracy of such a homogenising generalisation. Secondly, that despite the hegemony of biomedical models of nutrition within health and ante-/postnatal wellbeing in Norway, my interlocutors moved between these and other ideas and practices of health and wellbeing. Describing their dietary habits and practices makes plain the narrowness of applying purely biomedically-predicated thinking to understanding these Nepalis’ foodways. Thirdly, that in ante-/postnatal care the biomedical model overprivileges the individual mother’s responsibility for her own health in order to benefit her child, ignoring the potential for alternative distributions of responsibility for, as well as emphasis on, both offspring and mother: the Nepalis I encountered showed a notable commitment to the mother’s wellbeing and also sense of pregnancy and postnatal care as a collective enterprise, relationally shaped. Fourthly, my Nepali respondents’ accounts provide a useful example demonstrating limitations to the perceived authority of Norwegian state advice on health in general. Well-informed and often highly educated, these Nepalis engaged only selectively with the state-endorsed guidance and services, instead drawing on other (re)sources – Nepali family and friends especially – to maintain health and wellbeing.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
URI: http://bura.brunel.ac.uk/handle/2438/14463
Appears in Collections:Anthropology
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Theses

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
FulltextThesis.pdf 2.08 MBAdobe PDFView/Open


Items in BURA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.