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Constructed national food and meal archetypes at international exhibitions from Paris 1867 to Aichi 2005

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This study examines the selection of food culture objects by the Swedish state for presentation at the international exhibitions (world fairs) of 1851 to 2005, and in particular the methodologies used by Swedish National Exhibition Committees to select representative national food culture to be served in national exhibition arenas. The material used consists of government documents from 1846 to 2000, semi-structured interviews of six civil servants responsible for the joint Scandinavian pavilion at the Aichi International Exhibition in 2005 (Japan), field diary notes and photographs from observations, and exhibition brochures. The process of political selection in creating a representative national food cultural heritage, with the aim of promoting the sale of national produce and a positive reputation abroad, as well as of fostering national pride at home, is delineated. The importance of economic and marketing values in shaping a national cultural form designed as a symbol of the nation is examined, and the question of whose food cultures are selected for inclusion and whose are excluded are addressed.

Keywords: Scandinavian countries; Sweden; international exhibitions; national pride; smorgasbord; world fairs

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Orebro University, Grythyttan, Sweden 2: Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden

Publication date: September 1, 2008

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