Det velduftende plejehjem: På sporet af en ny mad- og måltidskultur i den offentlige sektor

Publication: ResearchPh.D. thesis – Annual report year: 2007

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With point of departure in a hypothesis, which propose that a continued organic conversion of public sector catering, besides the environmental gains, will contribute to a better working life and a healthier food, an action research process was launched in early 2003. The purpose was to further develop the concept of organic conversion through experiences with involvement and participation of personnel and the elderly in processes of change. A joint-venture with the municipality of Copenhagen resulted in a number of so-called future creating workshops and other arrangements. The group of participants was primarily personnel from four local nursing homes. The empirical material from these workshops shows a severe criticism in relation to both the working life conditions and in relation to the aesthetic dimensions of the prevailing food culture. Unfortunately the joint-venture ceased and the action research project was reoriented. Through the establishment of an interdisciplinary forum of people working in and around the public sector catering and the public eldercare, an effort was launched in order to encircle how to tackle the crises in public catering and care. In this forum the vision of the delicious smelling nursing home was created and promoted in public. In the first part of the dissertation light will be thrown on the modernisation of public sector catering. Through a critical reading of reports about the public sector catering the last 25 years, a number of central dynamic and rationalities will be encircled. In continuation of this, the concept of work will be discussed in its historical context. With an expanded concept of work, which emphasize that the life of human beings gets rich and versatile by virtue of rich and versatile work processes, the degrading effect of industrialism on work are being discussed. Scientific investigations and everyday experiences suggest that the implementation of New Public Management and Total Quality Management concepts is leading to a further degradation of work and an escalation of the crises. With the delicious smelling nursing home a perspective of self-management and re-embedding of working tasks is taking shape. The comprehension of crises and the social imagination that finds expression in the empirical material indicates an un-unfolded social reason in public planning. The primary problem formulation takes its point of departure in the recognition of these contradictory rationalities and asks: How can we envisage that the social reason which is illustrated and symbolized in the vision of the delicious smelling nursing home can be realised, when the social reality is dominated by a neoliberal management discourse? The theories of Jürgen Habermas are being consulted in order to look for answers to the above question. Could his theoretical and normative concepts of the colonization of life world by systems, communicative action and deliberative democracy give us some fruitful clues and ideas? In continuation of the discussion with Habermas it is concluded that his universalistic and deliberative orientations in combination with his lack of sympathy for the emancipative potentials of work do not create a breeding ground for the unfolding of new forms of institutions and work. The critical utopian action research offers another approach to democratic innovation and social change, which will be investigated and discussed. Through the establishment of social free spaces, this approach encourages the participants to the development of future drafts in relation to the joint theme which relates to the participants life context. These future drafts are subject to a further development through dialogues and networking with experts and the public. The perspective is to create democratic social experiments and corresponding cultural learning processes. It is concluded that the crises in public catering and care has to be tackled from a life context perspective through democratic social experiments.
Original languageDanish
Publication dateApr 2007
StatePublished
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