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CFK is a meeting place for researchers from different disciplines. By working together in interdisciplinary teams a more balanced, profound, and deeper understanding of consumption can be reached. The research at CFK embraces a broad variety of topics; such as children and food, fashion, gender and design, interior decoration and sustainable consumption. Read more about the current research projects below.

Current research projects:

> All aboard: Gender conscious design as potential for economic growth
> Bridging the gap: Children and planners co-creating the urban space
> Consumer logistics
> Culture together with children
> CSR in the digital age: a netnographic study
> Digcon: Digitalizing consumer culture
> Food, Convenience and Sustainability (FOCAS)
> Food in Nordic everyday life
> Managing Overflow
> Reading with the youngest: evaluation research of the project Tell play, read.
> Re:heritage. Circulation and marketization of things with history
> Retailing risk: The construction of risk in food stores
> Sustainable Shopping in the digital society: the role of green apps


Bridging the gap: Children and planners co-creating the urban space

The project is about how children can have more substantial impact on urban development and focusses on three questions: a) what specific knowledge and experience children contribute to when participating in planning processes? b) How can a dialogue between children and planners be established? And c) how may digital tools be of use to facilitate the process? The theoretical framework for analysis includes theories of participation, deliberative democracy, empowerment and action planning.

The project is a pilot study where a group och children, teachers and planners will be engaged in two phases: 1) “Participatory action”, where children, led by researchrs and teachers and as part of the school work, are testing tools and methods (e.g. Minecraft) for co-creating of urban space. 2) Knowledge production, where children, teachers and planners evaluate the tools and where the research questions are answered. The project intends in this way to contribute to the implementation by colluding the generate solutions of how children’s participation in urban delevopment may be turned into an ordinary process in which primary schools and planning departments interact.

Project leader: MariAnne Karlsson, Design and Human Factors, Chalmers University of Technology.

Participating researchers from CFK:
Barbro Johansson, associate professor ethnology
Sandra Hillén, researcher ethnology

Funded by Formas 2014-2016 

Re:heritage. Circulation and marketization of things with history

The aim of this project is to study how heritage is performed in the rapidly expanding second hand-, re-use- and vintage market in which small-scale entrepreneurs transform and re-configure objects with a history into marketable goods with heritage value. This we
call the re:heritage market.

The project explores how the circulation of things on the re:heritage market involves a renegotiation of established heritage understandings, and puts at play conventional dichotomies between public and private, tangible and intangible, memory and history.

The project will analyse the relations, networks and assemblages of things circulating on the re:heritage market, their real and virtual sites, as well as the actors and institutions involved. The project evolves from a strategically gathered international and multidisciplinary group of scholars (anthropology, consumption research, integrated conservation and cultural geography); it builds upon existing research of second hand culture, consumption and heritagisation; and it uses qualitative multi-methodology (ethnographic fieldwork, text and image analysis, archival studies).

The project consists of five interrelated work packages with complementary focus: 1) the social and material infrastructure of things in circulation, 2) the market qualification-valuation processes, 3) the interaction of localities and heritagization, 4) a comparative study in the UK, 5) theory development and public co-research in interaction.

Project leader: Anna Bohlin, School of Global Studies, University of Gothenburg

Participating researchers from CFK:
Helene Brembeck, professor ethnology
Niklas Hansson, researcher ethnology

Researchers at University of Gothenburg:
Anna Bohlin, project leader, School of Global Studies
Staffan Appelgren, School of Global Studies
Ingrid Martins Holmberg, Department of Conservation
Anneli Palmsköld, Department of Conservation

Participating researchers in Great Britain:
Nicky Gregson, University of Durham
Mike Crang, University of Durham

Funded by Swedish Research Council VR 2014-2017

Food, Convenience and Sustainability (FOCAS)

This interdisciplinary project will explore how consumers make sense of a range of different sources of information about the healthiness and sustainability of their food choices. The members of the project team are from Denmark, Germany, Sweden and the UK.

The project aims to answer the following questions:

• How is 'convenience' food defined by consumers and how does its use relate to consumer
understandings of ‘healthy eating’ and environmental sustainability?l With what specific practices (shopping, cooking, eating, disposing) are 'convenience' foods associated?
• How are such foods incorporated within different household contexts and domestic routines?
• To what extent are current practices subject to change (towards more sustainable and healthier practices)?

Four case studies will be performed on: processed baby-food; supermarket ready-meals; workplace food; and food-box schemes.

The researchers from the Centre of Consumer Science will be responsible for the case study on processed baby-food among families with children aged <18 months. They will answer questions such as: How is processed baby food understood and managed by producers and consumers in terms of health, sustainability and convenience? How does it fit into the routine practices of family life? How are consumers and feeding practices portrayed in the marketing of baby food? What would encourage healthier and more sustainable alternatives? The researchers will use interviews, focus groups and kitchen 'go-alongs' as well as make a comparison of marketing materials and advertising practices.

Project leader: Professor Peter Jackson, University of Sheffield

Maria Fuentes, business administration
Helene Brembeck, professor ethnology

ERAnet project, Swedish part is funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas 2014-2016

Reading with the youngest: evaluation research of the project Tell, play, read.
"Reading with the youngest" aims at studying the project "Tell, play, read", that is a cooperation between preschools and libraries on reading and working with books for children up to three years of age. "Tell, play, read" is conducted by the nonprofit organization Läsrörelsen and is carried out in the counties of Sörmland, Västmanland and Örebro 2013-2015.

All participating children receive one of three specially selected picture books, and work with the book at preschool and at home during the semester that the project runs. A total of 140 preschools and 2460 children take part. In "Reading with the youngest" the project is studied by qualitative methods and evaluations, with special focus on the perspectives of children, pedagogues and librarians.

Barbro Johansson, associate professor in ethnology
Sandra Hillén, PhD in ethnology.

Funded by The Swedish Inheritance Fund Commission and The Culture Foundation of the Swedish Postcode Lottery through Läsrörelsen 2013-2015


Sustainable Shopping in the digital society: the role of green apps
This project examine green apps and their role in sustainable shopping. The digitalization of society has changed the way we shop. Webpages and apps are used to compare prices, read up on brands and companies, and purchase products. What do the emergence of these digital devices mean for sustainable shopping?

The aim of this project is to examine, describe and conceptualize in what ways green apps enable sustainable shopping. Key questions are: in what ways are green apps used? What functions do these apps provide? In what ways do green apps enable sustainable shopping?

An ethnographic study is planned. The fieldwork will consist of: 1) Interviews with designers of green apps 2) Interviews with users of green apps and 3) a close reading/autoethnographic observation of a selection of green apps.

Participating researcher
Christian Fuentes, PhD business administration

Funded by Adlerbertska forskningsstiftelsen 2014-2015

CSR in the digital age: a netnographic study
Digitalization and the development of the Internet society have changed the way CSR is communicated. Corporate websites, blogs, social media, and mobile applications (apps) are now commonly used to market CSR. In spite of these dramatic changes to the media landscape, studies of how CSR is communicated and reproduced online are rare.

Against this background, the aim of this project is to examine how CSR accounts are produced and reproduced online in/through the communicative practices of corporations and consumers. A two-part netnographic study is suggested to answer these questions. The first part examines how retailers market CSR through an array of digital devices, employing different communicative strategies and producing various CSR messages. The second part focuses instead on the online communicative practices of consumers and examines how consumers use digital devices to reproduce – in different ways – the CSR accounts created by retailers.

By conducting this study the ambition is to contribute to the research fields of Retail marketing, CSR and Digital marketing. Moreover, the study of expected to be relevant for retailers interested in designing or improving their online CSR communication by informing them on issues such as which digital channels to select when communicating CSR, what types of accounts to produce in order to construct value for consumers and how to manage and address CSR criticism online.

Participating researcher
Christian Fuentes, PhD business administration

Funded by the Centre for Retailing, University of Gothenburg 2014-2016

All aboard: Gender conscious design as potential for economic growth

The goal of this project is to, through scientific study based on gender theory, document and evaluate the initiative All Aboard. All Aboard was a project which resulted in the development of a concept leisure boat aimed at better representing the wishes that women who are potential leisure boat owners have on their boats.

What opportunities lie in the use of gender as a means to reach new markets and are there any problems involved in this? With the use of qualitative methods the strategies of the All Aboard group as well as their experiences of working with this innovation system will be investigated.

An expected result of the study is the development of a theoretical model that conveys knowledge and experience from All Aboard by identifying the strategies for gender growth that worked, disuss why they worked and problematize strategies that did not work.

Participating researcher
Magdalena Petersson McIntyre, associate professor ethnology

Funded by Vinnova 2013

Retailing risk: The construction of risk in food stores

The objective of the project is to describe how risk related to food scares is constructed in food stores. What role do food stores play in the reproduction of food scares and the construction of risk? Do food stores, through marketing practices, work to reproduce and perhaps even amplify food scares and food related anxiety? Or is it instead at these commercial spaces that the anxiety produced by food scares is resolved or at least renegotiated?

These questions will be investigated through an ethnographic study of the everyday doings of a food store. Observations will be conducted at three different stores – an ICA store, a Coop store and a Netto store. Interviews with consumers and food store employees will be carried out.

The results will contribute to previous research that problematize the societal and political role of stores and other retail settings as well as inform work that aims at sustaining and repairing consumer trust. By learning more about how risk is constructed in food retail setting, managers can better design value creating processes that aid consumers’ risk handling strategies. In that way retailers can play a more significant and more deliberate role in helping consumers deal with the anxieties that are common in modern consumer culture in general. Using the knowledge mangers could develop specific products and marketing devices that allow consumers to cope with the many risks associated with consumer products today.

Participating researcher
Maria Fuentes, researcher marketing/business administration

Funded by Centre for Retailing 2013


Digcon: Digitalizing consumer culture

Digcon is an international interdisciplinary project that aims to study digital market devices through the lens of the shaping of product markets and consumption practices.

Mobile smartphones, laptops and tablets are omnipresent gateways to cyber activity, at work and at home, in education and consumption. Among these fields, the latter deserves particular attention: digital devices are not only consumed, they are also used increasingly by consumers along their consumption practices. In so doing, these devices contribute to the shaping of new consumer identities, and address issues in terms of gender, ethics, class, abilities and exclusions.

The project aims to contribute to the emerging tradition of practice-based approaches to consumption and particularly the study of market devices and their use in everyday markets. We use a multi-methodology approach in five work packages targeted at revealing different aspects of digitalized consumption. With a combination of common ethnographic qualitative and virtual ethnography but also historical methods, we will study digital consumption.

More about Digcon

Participating researchers
Magdalena Petersson McIntyre (project leader), Centre for Consumer Science
Lena Hansson, Centre for Consumer Science,
Niklas Hansson, Centre for Consumer Science
Johan Hagberg, Centre for retailing, School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg
Hans Kjellberg, Stockholm School of Economics
Franck Cochoy, Université Tolouse II and visiting professor at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg

Funded by the Swedish Research Council 2013-2016

Food in Nordic everyday life: A comparative survey of change and stability in eating patterns

The project investigates the everyday eating practices of four Nordic populations. How do people in Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway organize their daily eating? The aim is to understand modern living in more depth and to find out whether eating today is highly individualized largely neglecting old habits and norms regarding proper eating – or, whether these traditions still prevail.

The study of change and variation in food habits is an entrance to explore wider social themes, such as how modern living is structured by time rhythms and organization of society, how social relations are coordinated, how identity is reflected in daily consumption, how norms may differ from practices and how men and women differ with respect to daily habits and routines.

Current structures and emerging patterns in food purchase (e.g., convenience food), domestic food preparation, and eating away from home are critical not only for the development of new food products or service systems but also for public policies addressing both health and environmental issues.

The project will investigate the acquisition, preparation, timing, presentation, location, companionship, and selection of food using survey methodology including representative samples of four Nordic populations.

In addition, the study aims at methodological development to capture trends and social variations in eating patterns over time. It will link up to an earlier Nordic study from 1997, and thus offers a unique opportunity to study social change within a central area of contemporary consumption.

Professor Lotte Holm, professor at Copenhagen University is project coordinator. Read more at the projects homepage

Participating researcher from CFK:
Marianne Pipping Ekström, associate professor

Funded by The Joint Committe for Nordic research councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS) 2011-2014


Culture together with children: children and their families' participation in the development of The Children's Culture Centre.

KUMBA is a development and research project driven collaboratively by The Swedish School of Library and Information Science at the University of Borås and the Centre for Consumer Science at University of Gothenburg. The research team works in close cooperation with the department of Cultural Amenities in Borås and the project group for The Children's Culture Centre.

The idea behind The Children's Culture Centre is to develop a place for children up to 11 years old where, through the support of cultural experiences, they can be their own artists and story-tellers. The project is being developed through cooperation between the cultural institutions in Borås. The objectives of KUMBA are twofold: a) to follow the development process of The Room for Children’s Culture, and b) to develop a model for children’s and their caregivers’ participation in the design of cultural activities. The departure point for research is the international and cross-disciplinary field of Childhood Studies where concepts such as participation, competence and empowerment are continually challenged.

One of the research team's partners is the local organization for children and youth culture which is made up of representatives from the different cultural institutions in the town: The School of Arts and Culture, Borås Museum, the Art Centre, the Textile Museum, The City Library, the City Theatre, together with the department of Cultural Amenities. The other group with which the research team cooperates is made up personnel who work with activities The Children's Culture Centre as well as children with their caregivers who are the target group for the project; both those who take part in the activities as well as those who can be contacted in other places.

Research team:
Barbro Johansson, Centre for Consumer Science
Frances Hultgren, The Swedish School of Library and Information Science at The University of Borås
Amira Sofie Sandin, The Swedish School of Library and Information Science at The University of Borås

KUMBA is planned as a three-year project from 2011-2013 and is, at present, partly funded by the Svea Bredal Fund.

Consumer Logistics

In the project the researchers are going to study how consumers bring home their everyday purchases from the store. The research team consists of researchers from the Centre for Consumer Science, the Center for Retailing and researchers from France and Britain.In this project, it is the consumers who walk, cycle or use public transportation which are in focus. How do consumers transport their purchases? What different types of bags, shopping bags and trolleys are used?

Scientists will make observations in public places to see how consumers carry their purchases. They will be interviewing families and elderly and also involve them as co-researchers. To get a better understanding of the phenomenon, the researchers will also study the history to see how the transportation of daily shopping has changed over time.

The project also includes the involvement of people whose work affects urban development such as town planners, managers of shopping malls and public transport operators. The research project is part of the URBAN-NET under the EU's 7th Framework Programme and administered by the Research Council Formas.

Researchers from the Centre for Consumer Science:
Helene Brembeck, professor ethnology
Ulrika Holmberg, PhD business administration (CFK/Centre for Retailing)
Niklas Hansson, PhD ethnology
Daniel Normark, PhD sociology

Other participating researcher from Sweden:
Johan Hagberg, PhD business administration (Centre for Retailing)

Participating researchers from France:
Franck Cochoy, professor sociology, Tolouse II University
Cedric Calvignac, PhD sociology, Tolouse II University
Roland Canu, associate professor sociology, Tolouse II University
Michèle Lalanne, associate professor sociology, Tolouse II University
Florence Brachet Champsaur, Phd student history, Ecole de Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris

Participating researchers from Great Britain:
Tim Dant, associate professor sociology, Lancaster University
Eric Laurier, associate professor human geography, University of Edinburgh

More about Consumer Logistics

Funded by the research council Formas 2010-2012. The project is a part of URBAN-NET












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