Can you briefly tell us about your background and research?

I studied business and economics at the Stockholm School of Economics and New York University in the 1980s. I have also worked as a management consultant and media advisor, written a handbook for radio advertising (Reklamradioboken), participated in the start-up of a listener survey company, worked with Expressen’s marketing, and worked as a planner at various advertising agencies. During that entire 15-year period, I accumulated a relatively broad palette of various marketing-related jobs, but I yearned for tools that could give me a more contextual understanding of why people consume the way they do. I found these tools in ethnology, which demonstrates how man consumes various symbolic resources in its pursuit for identity, normality, and belonging. All in all, like other researchers, I believe that consumption can be better understood by looking at its communicative capacities rather than its practical applications. Based on the “ethnological perspective”, I wrote my dissertation about the everyday dinner among single mothers, and the implications of everyday consumption is something that I continue to study.


You conduct research on consumption. What is it that makes it such an interesting and exciting subject?

We live in a society where consumption plays a pivotal role, socially, economically, and politically. Accordingly, in order to understand our society, we must understand our consumption - not least its symbolic traits. My focus lies on everyday consumption and what we, sometimes without even thinking about it, communicate and create through it.


What projects are you currently working on?

At present, I have a postdoctoral scholarship from the Anna Ahlström and Ellen Terserus Foundation. My main project is about male parenthood. Despite the government’s efforts to promote equality, women still maintain the main responsibility for childcare, the household, and associated consumption. At the same time, men have recently started to assume increased responsibility for childcare. Today’s research addresses the involved father – a new paternity ideal that has gained acceptance and become a given part of what is expected of a “successful” man, at least in the rhetoric. I am interested in fathers’ increased involvement in childcare and how it manifests itself in practice: what ideals are pursued and how that is reflected in their consumption. I have chosen to study single fathers who have full or shared custody, since men’s childcare has increased significantly over the past few years. Furthermore, I am currently working on two articles based on my doctoral thesis about the everyday dinner. One of the articles discusses how emotions are created and manifested through consumption, and the second focuses on how we learn to become consumers and the ways in which our consumption is reflected in our previous experiences. I am also currently working on an article that looks at how brands are given meaning, specifically in the fashion industry.


You worked in the marketing/advertising business for several years. How does that affect your perspective as a researcher?

It is possible that, during my years as a “practitioner”, I developed a better understanding of pragmatism and the force of habit, as well as the powerful role of research in shifting the perspective in order to break “bad” habits.  


What is the most fun about doing research?

Everything! The benefit of contributing to the development of society by defining problems and shifting perspectives, of surrounding myself with and working alongside exciting colleagues who have the same ambitions, and, last but not least, the writing and analysing itself. The entire process, really.