Figuring the pecking order : emerging child food-preferences when species meet in the family environment

Bettany, Shona and Kerrane, Benedict Andrew (2018) Figuring the pecking order : emerging child food-preferences when species meet in the family environment. European Journal of Marketing, 52 (12). pp. 2334-2355. ISSN 0309-0566

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Using the family activity of hobby stock-keeping (“petstock”) as a context, this paper extends singularization theory to model the negotiations, agencies and resistances of children, parents and petstock as they work through how animals become food within the boundaries of the family home. In doing so, we present an articulation of this process, deciphering the cultural biographies of petstock, and leading to an understanding of the emergent array of child animal food-product preferences. Data were collected from petstock-keeping parents through a mixture of ethnographic, in-depth interviewing and netnographic engagements in this qualitative, interpretive study; with parents offering experiential insights into animal meat and food-product socialization behaviours played out within the family environs. The findings discuss the range of parental behaviours, motivations and activities vis-à-vis petstock, and their children’s responses; ranging from transgression to full compliance, in terms of eating home-raised animal food-products. The discussion illustrates that in the context of petstock, a precocious child food-preference agency towards animal meat and food-products is reported to emerge. This research has empirical and theoretical implications for the understanding of the development of child food-preference agency vis-à-vis animal food products in the context of family petstock keeping. The research has the potential to inform policy makers around child education and food in regard to how child food-preferences emerge, and can inform marketers developing food-based communications aimed at children and parents. Two original contributions are presented: an analysis of the under-researched area of how children’s food-preferences towards eating animal food-products develops, taking a positive child food-choice agency perspective, and; a novel extension of singularization theory, theorizing the radical transformation, from animal to food, encountered by children in the petstock context.

Item Type:
Journal Article
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European Journal of Marketing
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This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? animalsfoodchildrennetnographyfamily lifesingularization theorymarketingdiscipline-based research ??
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23 May 2018 12:48
Last Modified:
05 Jun 2024 00:33