Sofia Ulver

The Garden Conference 2017, “The Neogreen Revolution”

At this conference the 24’th of October, in Linköping, Sweden, I spoke to a broad audience ranging from the Swedish Ministry of Agriculture and University deans and professors, to farmers from all over Sweden, about the neoprene revolution and how it has influenced the way consumers in an increasing way live and breath sustainability. I also talked about the “wild turn” in food consumption and how it has created a coalescence between  kitchen and nature/garden.

Livsmedelsforum 2017- Aktuell Hållbarhet “The Art of Selling Sustainable Food”

At Livsmedelsforum 2017 the 19’th of October in Malmö, I talked about the “Art of selling sustainable food” but more from a communication than a retail perspective. I first accounted for the latest quantitative research insights (from other researchers) regarding this topic and then talked about the main life theme (in my own research) of our time–namely what I call the neogreen revolution (which I wrote a report about for Jordbruksverket in 2012)–and how the food trends manifest this in such illustrative ways. Since 2005 I have been interested in the increased consumer interest in food, eating, and cooking–the “foodies”–and since 2012 I have engaged in more systematic research about (or among!) them. My focus has been on how the content of what gives status changes over time and who has the illocutionary and interpretive precedence to state what is “right”, “appropriate” and “what we should spend money on” in the foodie culture. Ranking institutes, restaurants, food critics and large media production companies such as Netflix, with their by now (among foodies)  iconic “Chef’s Table” has immense power here. And what the chefs portrayed in these various scapes are bringing forth, inspires micro trends, but also more lasting value shifts, on the global foodie market. In an upcoming Routledge anthology on Taste I and my PhD candidate Marcus Klasson delve into these Chef’s Table themes and from this emerges postmodern heroes with renaissance visions to save the world. The art of selling  sustainable food is–except from BEING sustainable–very much about understanding this symbolic world of foodies’ influencers and frame one’s communication according to its meanings.

AdDay 2017: “From Consumer to Activist,” May 11, Stockholm

At the bizzy wizzy AdDay, for Sweden’s various brand owners to meet and get inspired, I spoke about the interesting shift in roles where both consumers AND companies together become activists. Hence, the market increasingly becomes an arena for political positioning. Where national political parties (unfortunately) fail to influence the globalized world, consumers (unfortunately) have to lean more and more upon other actors to represent them. This is where the new branding paradigm comes in; brands and consumers in a symphonic co-play in political activism.

Malmö Näringslivsgala 2017: “Malmöberättelser och Brytningspunkterna”

Malmö city has and is going through major shifts and changes, not least as we speak. The stories about Malmö are spectacularly polarised and yet co-existing. How does one make sense of this? And how is consumer culture part of these stories and the breaches that change them?

ACR Conference RoundTable on Liquid Consumption, Berlin, Germany, 29’Th October 2016

The 29’Th of October 2016 I was  part of a roundtable discussion about Liquid Consumption (read late Zygmunt Bauman) together with some of the world’s leading consumer society researchers (Adam Arvidsson, Eric Arnould, Russel Belk, Jacob Östberg, Sören Askegaard, Eileen Fisher, Cornelia Otnes, Linda Price  etc ) organized by Fleura Bardhi and Gianna Eckhardt. Took place at the ACR Conference in Berlin (26-30Oct) at the Maritim Hotel.

“Declining Middle-Classes and Consumption”, Session Organizer at the 3’d ISA Forum 2016, Vienna, Austria

At one of the world’s most renowned conferences within sociology (the 3’d international Sociological Association Forum: “The Futures we Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a better world)  within Jean-Pascal Daloz’z research committee on comparative sociology, I organised a session on the shrinking of the middle-classes and what consequences this has for classical theories on consumption. Took place in Vienna, Austria, 10-14 July, 2016. Very exciting papers were presented, e.g. by Professor Louis Chauvel, and the room was packed. Not only by audience but also with discussions.

Journal of Marketing Management: “Masculinising Domesticity”

In this JMM published article I and Marcus Klasson examine how men configure their gendered identity in a traditionally feminine domain; the setting of the domestic kitchen. We identify how feminised masculinities are shaped into hegemonic masculinity.

Reference: Klasson, M and Sofia Ulver (2015) “Masculinising Domesticity: An Investigation of Men’s Domestic Foodwork”, Journal of Marketing Management, 31:15-16, 1652-1675

The Newspaper: The Most Social of Media

In this ethnographic consultancy project (commissioned by a large Swedish Media group) I and a team of observers explored the rituals, routines, habits and meanings related to newspaper reading.  The 25 participants were all loyal and enthusiastic subscribers of the paper version of the newspaper and wrote reading-diaries for a week and gave ethnographic interviews in their homes. The results were intriguing and the paradoxical, overall insight taught us that no media can be as social as a a paper newspaper.

Keynote at “Is there a Future for the Future?”, New York, USA, May 2016

For the second year I was invited to speak as keynote at the Swedish-American Executive Women’s Forum. 2016 the theme is “Is there a Future for the Future?” and I spoke about where we were, are, and are heading in terms of gender in consumer society. Other co-speakers were  Jay Newton-Small (TIME journalist and author),  Anna Kinberg Batra ( leader Sweden’s Moderate Party), Adiba Barney (CEO, Silicon Valey Forum) and Linda Björk (author and speaker).  Arranged by the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce, and hosted by PwC, New York.

“The Comeback of Craft”, Vaasa, Finland, March 2016

The 15’Th of March, at Loftet, in Vaasa, Finland, I spoke about how shifts in consumer society  led to the comeback of  craft consumption and production, as well as consumption and production of craft…in other words craft prosumption. If industrial society alienated us from our own nature, postindustrial society welcomes us back to terroir (the soil), boisoir (the forrest), and merrior (the water).  It may be involved in new processes, new flows, and it may be embraced by contemporary desires of postindustrial capitalism, but the craft is nevertheless at the core. Or rather; is the core.

O’Learys Trademark Event, Tolvan, Tele2 Arena, Stockholm, March 2016

At “Tolv Stockholm” and Tele 2 Arena, I spoke about the attraction of brands and consumer trends in food and beverage.

On “the Nexus of Consumer flows and City Concentrism”, Västerås, March, 2016

The 9th of March I spoke in Västerås, Sweden, about the nexus of consumer flows and the mistaken death-sentence of city centers. City centers are more loved and desired than ever, they are just–for obvious reasons–damn hard to transform in a heartbeat …

2 x Almedalen

At the Swedish Mecka of “politics-meets-PR-meets-rosé wine-mingeling” forum, namely Almedalen, I will this year be part of two panels. The first one is about sustainability at SPPs event  Tuesday the 30’Th of June with Sarah McPhee (CEO, SPP), Charlotte Petri Gornitzka (President, SIDA), Casten Almqvist (VD, TV4-Group), Eva Hamilton (Board Pro) and Scandinavia’s swaggiest moderator Henrik Schyffert (critical comedian, producer, TV personality etc). So that’s got to be simultaneously interesting, serious and fun which is a great combination. My introduction will be about the 1) consumer movements as they are right now (political consumption; from boycott to buycott), 2) their critical dimensions (access/owning, market/state, temporary/permanent, anonymous/personal, climate urgency/climate skepticism, political/apolitical, neocommunity/individualism, flexibility/inconvenience)  and 3) the challenges in consumer culture from policy makers’ point of view (increase symbolic and economic value).

The other event is car2go’s exciting panel on Wednesday the 1’st of July on  about the future for urban transport and mobility. In the larger consumer cultural transformation towards immaterialism–or in other words from stuff (products) to experience (services)–what does the future bear in terms of sustainability and consumer engagement in relation to the collective change of preference in terms of ownership? Is it just a question of access vs owning? Or is it again more a question of what one sees as important to own? Namely;  the story of accessing and sharing as symbol for being the New Citizen ConsumerThe possibility for the consumer to mediate a compelling story about this, and thereby own the symbol of being a planet-conscious yet urban “accesser” rather than resource-wasting product owner, is one of the most critical dimensions in future consumer culture.


Aktuellt, Swedish Television News “The contradictions in Consumer Society”- 1 June 2015

Interview about the life-puzzling and stressed consumer (in this case in relation to cooking and other practices).


The Interest Compass- May 2015, Stockholm

At the annual publisher forum held by Tidsam in Stockholm, I spoke about the survey I was part of making about Swedes interests. What are we interested in? How much time and money do we spend on our interests and what interests are we ashamed of? This and much more was revealed in this exciting research.