Negotiating Family, Negotiating Food: Children as Family Participants?
There has been a considerable resurgence of interest in families and food within English society, sparked in part by a concern that both family and food have, in some ways, undergone a process of detrimental decline over the last half of the twentieth century. Poised now at the start of the twenty-first century, critical eyes are being cast over rising levels of obesity among children as well as adults, the nutritional deficiencies of school dinners and the propensity for children and young people, as well as their parents, to consume ‘junk’ food. In respect of the family, observers have noted with alarm the rising levels of divorce, increasingly time-poor family life, the loss of ‘traditional’ parental authority, and the growing sequestration of children into separate institutionalised leisure spaces in which ‘the family’ plays a less prominent part (Qvortrup 1994). Taken together these twin trends are, within the popular press, held to account for many of the contemporary ills of English life, sparking waves of government initiatives designed to tackle these new social ‘problems’.1
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