Children and food practices in residential care: Ambivalence in the 'institutional' home



Dorrer N, McIntosh I, Punch S & Emond R (2010) Children and food practices in residential care: Ambivalence in the 'institutional' home. Children's Geographies, 8 (3), pp. 247-259.

Using an ethnographic approach, we provide an analysis of food practices in residential care to explore the atypical nature of children's homes as a threefold space that combines characteristics of 'home', 'institution', and 'workplace'. Residential staff invested considerable effort into recreating a ' family-like' home but the practices and ideals they drew on could be interpreted and experienced in different ways. We demonstrate the difficulty of delineating between 'homely', 'institutional', or work oriented practices. While care workers tried to juggle conflicting demands in child-centred ways, the spaces they created could at times be experienced as constraining by the children and as inhibiting a sense of belonging.

residential child care; food practices; food; institution; children; childhood; ambivalence; ambiguity; home; residential care; Food Social aspects; Children; Group identity.

Children's Geographies: Volume 8, Issue 3

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication date31/08/2010
Publication date online19/08/2010
PublisherTaylor and Francis

People (2)


Professor Ruth Emond

Professor Ruth Emond

Professor, Social Work

Professor Samantha Punch

Professor Samantha Punch

Professor, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Projects (1)