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Lasagna for Breakfast: The Respectable Child and Cultural Norms of Eating Practices in a Danish Kindergarten Classroom

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Abstract:

This article examines socialization into healthy food practices in a culturally heterogeneous kindergarten class in Denmark. The study uses linguistic ethnography, an interpretive research approach in which ethnography is combined with micro-analysis of interactional sequences, and both dimensions are compared with macro-social issues. “Healthy food” and “healthy eating practices” are categories embedded in a particular cultural understanding but I demonstrate that teachers orient to these categories as natural, neutral and self-evident. Teachers treat food items considered healthy as obligatory lunch-box contents, and such healthy food items are associated with traditional majority food culture. Additionally, teachers hold specific expectations regarding the healthiest order in which to consume food. Overall, as healthy food and eating practices are normative and cultural issues, minority culture children are put under institutional pressure to assimilate into the dominant (food) culture, and by so doing demonstrate their respectability.
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