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Foodwork and Foodcare in Hard Times: Mothering, Value and Values

Parsons, Elizabeth; Harman, Vicki; Cappellini, Benedetta

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Elizabeth Parsons

Vicki Harman


In this article, we analyze the foodwork of mothers when feeding their families on low and reduced incomes. By exploring their accounts of food shopping and household budgeting, we argue that foodwork is intrinsically linked to other areas of social life and dominant values associated with “good mothering.” Through a careful consideration of the contexts and relations in which foodwork is valued, embedded, and made meaningful, we draw two key conclusions. First, we find that mothers' foodwork is oriented towards avoiding devaluation and maintaining a level of respectability as opposed to accumulating cultural capital. Second, we introduce the concept of foodcare arguing that it potentially offers low income mothers an alternative to the logic of capital for their demonstration of self-worth.


Parsons, E., Harman, V., & Cappellini, B. (2021). Foodwork and Foodcare in Hard Times: Mothering, Value and Values. Gender, Work and Organization,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 21, 2020
Online Publication Date Mar 8, 2021
Publication Date Mar 8, 2021
Deposit Date Jul 22, 2020
Publicly Available Date Oct 6, 2021
Journal Gender, Work and Organization
Print ISSN 0968-6673
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


Published Journal Article (244 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
© 2021 The Authors. Gender, Work & Organization published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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