Nourishing the Nation: The Uses of Food in an Israeli Kindergarten

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    Increasing numbers of people spend much of their waking lives within institutions of one sort or another. Nevertheless, whereas food and food-related occasions within domestic contexts have been studied extensively as prime sites for the transmission of social and cultural knowledge, little scholarly attention has attended to the uses and meanings of food in institutional contexts. Of such contexts, early education settings are particularly interesting, because it is during early childhood that strong links are forged between food, eating occasions, and a sense of social identity. This article, based on an ethnographic account of an Israeli kindergarten, addresses the question as to what cultural, social, and political knowledge was imparted through the preparation, consumption of, and conversation about food at an Israeli kindergarten. Various food-related events are described in terms of their contents, structure, mode of sociability, and the didactic use to which such occasions were put. The article argues that this food-complex served to mark and underpin the centrality of the Israeli state as a prime arena of allegiance and social identity and, further, that this process was related to, and reinforced by, class dynamics, as these were articulated in this particular kindergarten.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-199
    Number of pages19
    JournalFood and Foodways
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - 2005

    Bibliographical note

    doi: 10.1080/07409710590931285


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