International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Contested Interactions: School Shops, Children and Food in Warsaw

International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Volume 21, issue 3 (2014), pages 309-325

Author: Zofia Boni
Affiliation: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, London, United Kingdom

ISSN: 0798-1759


Abstract

Children’s relationships and experiences with food are becoming increasingly of interest to many social actors in Poland. This is best illustrated by the ongoing debates around sklepiki szkolne (school tuck shops), which are small, food-selling retailers located on school premises. Based on 12 months of fieldwork conducted in Warsaw in 2012–2013, which included ethnographic research in primary schools, I argue that school shops are contested spaces. This is because varied interactions occurring in them – between children, adults, food and money – are increasingly perceived as problematic. School shops are entangled in multiple relations with multiple actors (state, family, business) who each have their own view of what a school shop and interactions within it should be. I show that while school shops are at the centre of both political and nutritional debates, for children they are the sites of important everyday social and economic relations, and provide them with a rare situation of autonomy.

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