Morality and Relationality in Children’s Foodscapes

Living reference work entry
Part of the Geographies of Children and Young People book series (GCYP, volume 4)


This chapter reviews key scholarship on childhood, food, and subjectivity. Popular debates about children and food produce a series of young subjects that are invested with collective hopes and fears, such as the idealized “organic child” (Cairns et al. J Consum Cult 13(2):96–117, 2013) or the pathologized fast food addict (Bugge Food Cult Soc 14:71–89, 2011). As these young subjects circulate throughout media and policy rhetoric, they provide the discursive context in which young people forge subjectivities through everyday food practices – whether in negotiating meal preferences with family members or trading snacks within the school dining room. The concept of the “foodscape” is used to situate children’s subjectivities within particular food spaces, relations, and practices. Drawing upon research from Europe and North America, this chapter explores three key sites within children and young people’s foodscapes: family food, school food, and fast food. Just as the restaurant “kids menu” specifies a designated array of items from which the young consumer can choose, children’s foodscapes serve up a range of available subject positions – subject positions that are relationally constituted and morally evaluated. In keeping with this section’s thematic focus on representation, this chapter explores the interplay between the construction of the young subject within dominant food discourse and the formation of young people’s subjectivities within everyday food practices.


Food Foodscape Consumption Morality Family Health Body Mothering 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Childhood StudiesRutgers University-CamdenCamdenUSA

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