Family meal experiences : perspectives on practical knowledge, learning and culture

University dissertation from Örebro : Örebro universitetsbibliotek

Abstract: This thesis consists of four studies reflecting information and education on food and meals at different levels of society. The educational efforts are directed towards everyday family practices. The overall aim of this thesis, therefore, was to obtain a grasp of the way children and families think of food and meals in a cultural perspective, in order to understand the areas where food information and education appears to take root. Further, the thesis aims to study the potential of tasting lessons as an educational tool in compulsory school. The methods used were qualitative:repeated focus groups with immigrant women from Bosnia-Herzegovina and Somalia, focus groups with pupils and school staaf, and telephone interviews with school heads. Further it were semi-structured life world interviews and groupinterviews with Swedish children and their families. The analytical methods were based on grounded theory, and systematic and reflexive analysis. The results generated a model showing immigrant women struggling for their cultural identity, oscillating between remining Somalian and becoming part of Swedish society in their food and meal choices. The Swedish families described coping with the past and the present, and their children the different food and taste worlds at school and at home. The study of an educational tool for educationused in the fifth class at compulsory school showed both pupils and staff were prepared to be exposed to new tastes and new educational work and co-operation at school. In conclusion, the studies showed the imortance of culture for family identity, aswell as ideas and practices whithin family meal experiences in both immigrant and Swedish families. Further, an educational tool using children's senses might be a valuable practical contribution in food education. Neither food and meal information nor education and learning should, therefore, be separated from their practical and cultural components. Such factors should be taken into account in official guidelines for applied learning.

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