by Rebecca O'Connellin News, Research Papers, Study UpdatesComments Off on Published today: Special Issue of Children & Society ‘Children’s and Young People’s Food Practices in Contexts of Poverty and Inequality’
Coedited by Wendy Wills and Rebecca O’Connell, this Special Issue of the journal Children & Society addresses the social and economic determinants shaping what children and young people eat and the part food plays in their everyday lives. We suggest the food practices of children in poor and low-income households deserve special attention because food is fundamental — not only to health but also social life — and provides an important lens for understanding young people’s lived experiences of material deprivation and social exclusion.
The papers examine how poverty and inequality are negotiated in children’s everyday food practices in different geographical and neighbourhood contexts across the UK, Eastern Europe and North America. They challenge idea of the autonomous, individual ‘consumer’ that is often invoked in official narratives and implied in school meal service provision and ‘food poverty’ interventions. The Special Issue shows that children and young people themselves actively contest neoliberal discourses and practices that hold their parents (particularly mothers) accountable for their poverty. It argues that not ‘seeing’ or listening to children and young people who live and eat in contexts of poverty and inequality risks their health and social isolation and means they are unlikely to meet their food needs for health and social participation.