The sacred foodscapes of Thai Buddhist temples in Sweden

  • Katarina Plank Institutionen för litteratur, idéhistoria och religion, Göteborgs universitet
Keywords: Food -- Religious aspects -- Buddhism, Eating and meals, Diet, Cooking, Food habits, Nutrition, Buddhism -- Thailand, Sweden, Diaspora, Buddhist giving, Temples, Buddhist, Transnationalism, Migration, Gender


Thai Buddhist communities are by far the fastest-growing Buddhist establishments in Sweden, and – contrary to other Buddhist congregations that are mainly clustered in the cities – Thai Buddhist temples can be found in sparsely-populated areas and rural parts of Sweden. This article aims to document and analyse the ‘foodscape’ of diasporic Thai Buddhism in Sweden. In particular the article identifies and discusses five different strategies used by local communities- in order to support their temples in urban as well as rural areas: 1) local support, 2) pre-cooking and freezing, 3) pre-organised almsgiving in nearby cities, 4) change of food gifts, 5) change of the nikaya. A temple’s location in a rural area can drive forward a reinterpretation and adaptation of the monk’s rules, and contribute to a changing composition of food gifts. Food performs several functions. In addition to the religious functions that are associated with almsgiving, food can also serve as a means of generating bonding and bridging civic social capital, and providing economic income to temples. 
Apr 13, 2015
How to Cite
Plank, K. (2015). The sacred foodscapes of Thai Buddhist temples in Sweden. Scripta Instituti Donneriani Aboensis, 26, 201-24.