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Accepted paper:

Domestic cooking practices: revisiting class and status in the light of energy transition

Authors:

Meron Tesfamichael (University College London)
Jon Cloke (Loughborough University)

Paper short abstract:

We propose a paper that investigates if and how class and status can be used as an organising principle to capture domestic cooking practices in different socio-spatial settings.

Paper long abstract:

The recognition that biomass-fuelled stoves have negative impacts on health and environment is the driving force behind schemes to distribute improved and clean cookstoves in developing countries. However, despite considerable promotion over many decades, adoption remains limited. Some attribute this to the fact that the project architects overlooked the socio-cultural practices associated with cooking and the differentiated interests of the cooks (Crewe, 1993). Although somewhat a mundane activity, the preparation and consumption of food is said to have symbolic significance in conveying distinction and class relations in a given social system. Food is one way status is organised, i.e. what one eats and how one eats signify one's class (Goody, 1982; Bourdieu, 1984). In recent times, programmes like MECS have shown the interest to delve in the socio-cultural significance of the way people cook to understand what drives and hinders households' transition to clean cooking energy. We propose a paper that looks at how and to what extent class and status can be used as an organising principle to capture domestic cooking practices in different socio-spatial settings. If the intended result of programmes like MECS is to induce substantive behavioural changes that will themselves impact cooking-as-culture, how can an understanding of class - among the other complexities of 'mere cooking' - be used to enhance the targeting and effectiveness of programmes like MECS?

Bourdieu, P. (1984) Distinction, London

Crewe, Emma (1997) The Silent Traditions of Developing Cooks. London: Berg.

Goody, Jack (1982) Cooking, Cuisine and Class: Cambridge University Press

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Collaborations in Research on Low Carbon Energy