”Vi ser dem som smutsiga och äckliga platser som är fulla av farliga bakterier”
Om offentliga toaletter och äckel som kulturell logik
Nyckelord:discourse theory, logics, interviews, media, observations, diskursteori, logik, intervjuer, medier, observationer
This paper is about what disgust means for how people talk about and act in toilets. The overall purpose is to map and analyze meanings attributed to toilets, primarily public, but also semi-public, variants (semi-public are toilets that are publicly available under certain conditions, for example for guests at a restaurant). A more specific purpose is to investigate how disgust organizes these meanings as well as people’s toilet practices.
The main material is based on interviews with 11 people who clean or have cleaned toilets professionally in different places and in different contexts, for example at shopping centers, companies, institutions and ships. The paper is also based on media material collected with the help of the database retriever.nu and a search on "public toilets". In addition, observations have been made in public toilets, such as at airports, training facilities and bus stations. Theoretically, the paper is based on a discourse-theoretical perspective that focuses on logics, i.e. organizing principles possible to identify in different practices and discourses.
According to the results, a cultural logic of disgust characterizes notions of toilets and toilet practices, which means that toilet visitors strive to distance themselves ritually, symbolically and practically from the materiality of the toilet. As an example, toilet visitors create distance to a presumed contaminated toilet seat by hovering, i.e. by performing their needs without touching the toilet seat with the buttocks. Non-contact technologies such as automatic soap dispensers fulfill a similar distancing function.
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