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The family meal as an ideal: Children's perceptions of foodwork and commensality in everyday life and feasts
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
2019 (English)In: International Journal of Consumer Studies, ISSN 1470-6423, E-ISSN 1470-6431, Vol. 43, no 2, p. 178-186Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present article concerns meals from the point of view of children, focusing on structural and sociocultural aspects of meals in a Western context in general, and Sweden in particular. The aim was to study children's perceptions of meals with regard to what, where and with whom meals are eaten and how meals are made. The method used was an internet‐based, ethnological questionnaire, which is a qualitative method in which participants share their experiences and values regarding a certain topic of interest in writing. A hundred and twelve Swedish children were included. The children almost exclusively chose to write about family meals. These meals were described as well‐structured and organized, and were often portrayed in an idealized way, with family members sharing proper meals at home, spending an enjoyable time together with a nice atmosphere and good conversation. The children made a distinction between everyday meals and festive meals, where the main differences were that festive meals were more prone to include extended family and friends besides the nuclear family, and were described in a more exceptional way with regard to what is served and mealtime conditions. The article concludes that the family meal functioned as a way to construct the family and as a site where children acquire norms and values about meals and family identity, but they did so in an active way, by breaking rules and by challenging norms, thereby also contributing to change. The changing nature of the family meal was also seen in an extended proper meal and the commensal aspects surrounding mealtime, as commensality included both commensal eating and commensal foodwork.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 43, no 2, p. 178-186
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Food, Nutrition and Dietetics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-366976DOI: 10.1111/ijcs.12495ISI: 000459704100005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-366976DiVA, id: diva2:1266128
Available from: 2018-11-27 Created: 2018-11-27 Last updated: 2019-03-26Bibliographically approved

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Persson Osowski, ChristineMattsson Sydner, Ylva

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