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Karen Wistoft

Controlling or trusting children’s taste: making sense of taste education

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

In critiques of contemporary food culture and its many risks, children are very often framed as a particularly vulnerable group in need of guidance in order to avoid obesity and other epidemics. The fears of a massive food illiteracy of the coming generations and the subsequent food related health problems is often used to legitimate extremely normative food education for children and control mechanism such as nudging, shaming and self-policing.
In this paper, we want to focus on how taste is used in contemporary food education. We will do this by critically discussing a series of academic studies that design and evaluate taste education programs for children. Our main argument is that most of the literature on taste education has a very reductive understanding of taste and is essentially totally distrustful concerning children’s taste. Taste is seen as a barrier for ‘correct’ eating habits and not as an important sense, a source to pleasure, or a central way of sensually understanding and approaching the world. In other words, taste literacy becomes a tool to push children towards ‘hegemonic nutrition’.
Theoretically, the paper is inspired by the reworking of Foucault’s governmentality concept in recent food studies and learning studies. Through this theoretical framework we develop our critique of the existing literature in the aim of proposing alternative taste pedagogy. This pedagogy is based on trust rather than controlling.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year1 Sep 2016
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016

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