The search for the white Nordic: Analysis of the contemporary New Nordic Kitchen and former race science

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    Abstract

    The article analyzes the so-called ‘New Nordic Kitchen’ and its award-winning Copenhagen-based restaurant, Noma. Despite the fact that the idea of the New Nordic Kitchen, where only ingredients found naturally in the Nordic territories can be used for cooking, has gained huge popularity among ordinary people and politicians alike, very limited critical research has been done on the phenomenon. This article investigates how the New Nordic Kitchen plays into constructions of race and whiteness. It shows how the New Nordic Kitchen celebrates an ideal of ‘the Nordic’ as ‘pure’, ‘wild’ and isolated from globalization and immigration. Furthermore, it argues that the image of Nordic food, displayed in the New Nordic Kitchen – including the idea of Nordic food as a messenger between a celebrated past and contemporary times – is rather exclusionary towards Nordic racial minorities, e.g. recently arrived immigrants and descendants. The article includes an analysis of Nordic race science from the turn of the twentieth century in order to illustrate how the New Nordic Kitchen draws upon a longer historical tradition of viewing the Nordic, and especially Nordic whiteness, as superior. The historical importance of race science in Denmark is not common knowledge, and very limited research is done in this area. The article therefore also brings new insights to the historical construction of whiteness in the Nordic context. Finally, the article also shows how the New Nordic Kitchen not only draws upon but also continues the colonial power relations between Denmark and former Danish colonies.
    OriginalsprogEngelsk
    TidsskriftSocial Identities
    Vol/bind20
    Udgave nummer6
    Sider (fra-til)438-451
    ISSN1350-4630
    DOI
    StatusUdgivet - 2014

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