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Perceptions and memories of the free school meal in Sweden
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.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Food, Nutrition and Dietetics.
2010 (English)In: Food, Culture and Society, ISSN 1528-9796, Vol. 13, no 4, 555-572 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of the present article was to gain a deeper understanding of the free school meal as an embedded phenomenon in the Swedish culture. This was achieved by studying perceptions and memories of the Swedish school meal. One hundred and ninety-two informants took part in the study by responding to an ethnological questionnaire. The results showed that the school meal was seen as a second-class meal with regard to the staff, environment and to some extent the food. The school meal was also seen as part of the Swedish welfare state, as it represents universal and equal social benefits for everyone. One interpretation of this is that the informants liked the idea of having a free public school meal, but that the meal does not live up to their expectations, that is, a meal with the same values as one served at home.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 13, no 4, 555-572 p.
Keyword [en]
school meal, ethnological questionnaire, social constructionism
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Food, Nutrition and Dietetics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-133228DOI: 10.2752/175174410X12777254289420ISI: 000208391000006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-133228DiVA: diva2:360524
Available from: 2010-11-03 Created: 2010-11-03 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The Swedish School Meal as a Public Meal: Collective Thinking, Actions and Meal Patterns
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Swedish School Meal as a Public Meal: Collective Thinking, Actions and Meal Patterns
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to study what role the Swedish school meal has as a public meal in Swedish culture. An additional aim is to study the meal patterns of children, including the school meal.

An ethnological questionnaire with 192 informants was used to study people’s perceptions and memories of the school meal. The school meal was seen as part of the Swedish welfare state, but also as a second-class meal, which did not live up to the ideal, which was a meal with the same values as a meal served at home.

Observations in school canteens (25 hours), interviews with the school meal staff (six informants) and focus group interviews with children in grade 4-5 (seven groups with a total of 52 children) were carried out at three schools in central Sweden. Firstly, the data was analysed as to how the teachers interacted with the children in relation to the pedagogic meal. The teachers took on three different roles:  “the sociable teacher role”, “the educating teacher role” and “the evasive teacher role”. Secondly, the children’s understanding of food and meals in the school meal context was analysed. The results showed that the children used ideas from the adult world among their peers in the school meal situation. This included the implementation of institutional commensality, the telling of stories about food and the classification of foods in dichotomies.

A questionnaire covering the meal patterns of the children and intake of some snack foods was also distributed to the children attending grade 4-5 at the three schools and their parents. Matched pairs (n=147) were analysed for agreement. Most children had a regular meal pattern, and there was general agreement between child and parent reports, except for sweets and chocolate.

The expectations on the school meal are high. At the same time, there appears to be a social construction depicting the school meal in a negative way. In order to come to terms with the negative public view of the school meal, the social construction of the school meal needs to be addressed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. 85 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 80
Keyword
school meal, children, school, social constructionism, teachers, agreement, meal
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Food, Nutrition and Dietetics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-178161 (URN)978-91-554-8431-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-09-28, C8:305, BMC, Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-09-07 Created: 2012-07-30 Last updated: 2013-01-22

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Persson Osowski, ChristineGöranzon, HelenFjellström, Christina

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