Family mealtimes, yuckiness and the socialization of disgust responses by preschool children

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This paper contributes to research on the socialization of disgust responses by examining the ways in which preschool children (up to and including 5-year-olds) and their parents enact disgust in video recordings of family mealtimes in England and Scotland using a discursive psychological approach. I demonstrate that, in this context, preschool children predominantly use the disgust marker yuck whereas adults most commonly utter eugh. Preschool children’s yuck utterances are typically ignored by parents, treated as humorous or as attention-seeking behavior. I argue that preschool children are not treated as having the right to “know” disgust. The paper aims to stimulate debate in research on food and disgust, and of the role of language and social interaction in children’s eating practices.


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