Leahy, D 2010, 'What’s on (or off) the menu in school?', Text: Rewriting the menu: dynamics of contemporary food choices, special issue website series, no. 9, October.
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This paper takes as its starting point an autobiographical account of food and schooling. It then questions the ramifications of recent policy imperatives and socio-political discourse that intervene in children’s food choices at school. The paper moves on to question the social, ethical and personal implications of the ‘war on obesity’ and how its contradictory aims both warn of the dangers of obesity as well as promoting the notion of children and young people having a ‘healthy body image’. The way in which this schizophrenic ‘war on obesity’ is waged at a political level is examined as well as the way in which the ‘war’ is fought within schools at the micro level. I deploy a post- Foucauldian understanding of governmentality and, specifically, utilise the concept of ‘biopedagogy’ to examine the work that is being done in the name of obesity prevention education in schools. The paper concludes by illustrating the urgent need for further work in this area and argues that this can be evidenced by the disjuncture between the way in which food is framed within schools and the media trends for ‘gluttony promotion’ reflected in shows like Masterchef Australia.