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Feeding Ideals and the Work of Feeding in Swedish Families

Interactions between Mothers and Children around the Dinner Table

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Abstract:

Feeding norms are pervasive, and ideals of healthy food increase in relation to advice from commercial and government actors. Here we address how perceptions of “proper” food in Swedish family households are formed in relation to children's preferences. We argue that what is served in today's Swedish families should be understood in the context of discourse related to food and feeding and as a consequence of parent–child interaction. The empirical material consists of in-depth interviews and focus groups with mothers of children between the ages of three to eight and thirteen to nineteen years. We discuss three main areas: internalized food norms, controlling strategies, and dealing with children's wishes. Our conclusion is that the interactive nature of feeding work and contemporary food discourse yields a constant tension between trying to put norms into practice and at the same time dealing with specific, often uncertain, situations.

Keywords: CONTROLLING STRATEGIES; FEEDING IDEALS; FEEDING WORK; GENDER; INTERACTION; PARENTING

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/175174410X12549021368027

Publication date: March 1, 2010

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