Picturing the Lunchbox: Children Drawing and Talking about ‘Dream’ and ‘Nightmare’ Lunchboxes in the Primary School Setting

  • Caroline Dryden
  • Alan Metcalfe
  • Jenny Owen
  • Geraldine Shipton
Chapter
Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series

Abstract

The question of what children eat at school, and how they eat, has attracted increasing attention in the United Kingdom in recent years, and this interest has intensified recently with evidence of rising levels of childhood obesity. In this chapter, we want to contribute to the debate about children and food (and we should emphasise here that we are defining food in its broadest terms from chocolate to sandwiches), reporting on some of the findings from an ethnographic research initiative related to food practices in the school setting. As part of a wider study concerning fatherhood, food and family life, we spent some time talking with children during school dinnertimes, and inviting them to draw and comment on ‘dream’ and ‘nightmare’ lunchboxes, during classroom-based arts activities, in order to explore their own ideas about food and eating.1 These children were aged between nine and eleven: old enough to exercise a degree of autonomy in terms of what they ate, where and how — even if only by discarding or exchanging their lunchbox or dinner tray contents — and yet still firmly held within the gaze of teachers, parents and other caregivers. Envisaging ‘dream’ and ‘nightmare’ lunchboxes thus represented a rare opportunity for the children to freely express their ideas.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Baggini, J. (2007). Welcome to Everytown: a Journey into the English Mind. London: Granta Books.Google Scholar
  2. Buckingham, D. (2002). Children and Media. UNESCO, http://www.media-online. de (accessed 24/03/08).
  3. Burgess, R. & Morrison, M. (1998). Chapatis and chips: Encountering food use in primary school settings. British Food Journal 3:141–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Buttny, R. (1993). Social Accountability in Communication. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  5. Chaplin, L. N. & John, R. D. (2005). The development of self-brand connections in children and adolescents. Journal of Consumer Research 32, June: 119–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cook, D. (2003). Spatial biographies of children’s consumption. Journal of Consumer Culture 3(2):147–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Coveney, J. (2006). Food, Morals and Meaning: The Pleasure and Anxiety of Eating. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Douglas, L. (1999). Contribution of ‘packed lunches’ to the dietary intake of 11–12 year old children. Nutrition and Food Science 4:181–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dryden, C., Doherty, K. D. and Nicolson, P. (forthcoming). Accounting for the hero: A critical psycho-discursive approach to children’s experience of domestic violence and the construction of masculinities. British Journal of Social Psychology.Google Scholar
  10. Frosh, S., Phoenix, A. and Pattman, R. (2003). Taking a stand: Using psychoanalysis to explore the positioning of subjects in discourse. British Journal of Social Psychology 42:39–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Goffman, E. (1972). Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-To-Face Behaviour. London: Allen Lane.Google Scholar
  12. Henriques, J., Hollway, W., Urwin, C., Venn, C. & Walkerdine, V. (1984). Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation, Subjectivity. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  13. Henwood, K., Finn, M. & Shirani, F. (2008). Use of visual methods to explore paternal identities in historical time and social change: Reflections from the ‘men as fathers’ project. Qualitative Researcher 9, Sept.: 2–5.Google Scholar
  14. Hill, M. (2006). Children’s voices on ways of having a voice: Children’s and young peoples’ perspectives on methods used in research and consultation. Childhood 13(1):69–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hollows, J. (2003). Oliver’s twist: Leisure, labour and domestic masculinity in the Naked Chef. International Journal of Cultural Studies 6: 229–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. James, A. (1990). Childhood Identities. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Kline, S. (1993). Out of the Garden. Toys, TV and Children’s Culture in the Age of Marketing. New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  18. La Ville, V. I. (2004). L’activitè de consommation enfantine: les prèmices d’un dialogue transdisciplinaire? in Diasio, N. (ed.), Au Palais de Dame Tartine. Regards europèens sur la consommation enfantine (pp. 27–41). Paris: L’Harmattan.Google Scholar
  19. Lupton, D. (1996). Food, the Body and the Self, London: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. Malchiodi, C. A. (1998) .Understanding Children’s Drawings. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  21. Mauthner, M., Mayall, L. B. & Turner, S. (1993). Children and Food at Primary School. London: Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education University of London.Google Scholar
  22. Martens, L., Southerton, D. & Scott, S. (2004). Bringing children (and parents) into the sociology of consumption: Towards a theoretical and empirical agenda. Journal of Consumer Culture 4: 155–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McSeveny, K. (2009). ‘The management of identity and accountability in Online Weight Loss Discourse’. Unpublished PhD thesis, Sheffield Hallam University.Google Scholar
  24. Murcott, A. (1997). ‘The nation’s diet’: An overview of early results. British Food Journal 99(3):89–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Nelson, M., Nicholas, J., Suleiman, S., Davies, O., Prior, G., Hall, L., Wreford, S. & Poulter, J. (2005). School Meals in Primary Schools in England. Research Report no 753. London: King’s College.Google Scholar
  26. Nukaga, M. (2008). The underlife of kids’ school lunchtime: Negotiating ethnic boundaries and identity in food exchange. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 37:342–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Robinson, S. (2000). Children’s perceptions of who controls their food. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics 13:163–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rogers, I. S., Ness, A. R., Hebditch, K., Jones, L. R. & Emmett, P. M. (2007). Quality of food eaten in English primary schools: School dinners vs packed lunches. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 61:856–864.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thorne, B. (2005). Unpacking school lunchtime: Structure, practice and the negotiation of differences, in Cooper, C.R., Coll, C. G. T., Bartko, W. T., Davis, H. M., & Chatman, C. (eds), Developmental Pathways Through Middle Childhood (pp. 63–87). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  30. Valentine, G. (2000). Exploring children and young people’s narratives of identity. Geoforum 31:257–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Walkerdine, V. (1997). Daddy’s Girl: Young Girls and Popular Culture. Basingstoke: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  32. Warren, E., Parry, O., Lynch, R. & Murphy, S. (2008). ‘“If I don’t like it then I can choose what I want”: Welsh school children’s accounts of preference for and control over good choice. Health Promotion International 23(2):144–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Wetherell, M. (1998). Positioning and interpretive repertoires: Conversation analysis and poststructuralism in dialogue. Discourse and Society 9(3):387–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Williams, S. J. (1998). Health as moral performance: Ritual, transgression and taboo. Health 2(4): 435–457.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Caroline Dryden, Alan Metcalfe, Jenny Owen, Geraldine Shipton 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Dryden
  • Alan Metcalfe
  • Jenny Owen
  • Geraldine Shipton

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations