School meals in Portugal: Governing children’s food practice


Drawing on a post-Foucauldian conceptual framework we look at the rationalities that inform the organization of the Portuguese school meals and the implementation of these rationalities to transform and normalize children eating habits. The empirical material is drawn from a thematic documental analysis of the school meals regulatory framework from the 1970s up until nowadays. The objectives are threefold:

1) to describe the continuities and discontinuities of official discourses on school meals institutional practices;

2) to look at the ways children, health and food are placed and interpreted in those documents;

3) to describe and explain trajectories of school meals governmentalities and its plural arrangements.

It was possible to identify five types of school meals governmental regimes the “Authoritarian”; the “Democratic”, the “Modern”, the “Consumer” and the “Obesity and Risk”. These regimes are intertwined and organize in multiple ways the contexts that govern children’s eating practices in schools.

Publication associated with Project Entre a Escola e a Família: Conhecimentos e Práticas Alimentares das Crianças em Idade Escolar