Healthy beverages?

The interactional use of milk, juice and water in an ethnically diverse kindergarten class in Denmark

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This paper investigates the socialization into healthy food practices in a Danish multi-ethnic kindergarten classroom within the frameworks of Linguistic Ethnography (Creese, 2008; Rampton, Maybin & Tusting, 2007) and Language Socialization (Ochs, 1988; Schieffelin, 1990). I present micro-analyses of three situations where the health value of milk, water, and juice is topicalized. Health is a moral concept which is culturally embedded but linguistically constructed and negotiated. I discuss how learning outcomes in health educational activities depend on individuals’ understandings prior to interactions and on the process of co-ordinating understandings. Also, in children’s conversations nutritional value becomes an interactional resource. The paper contributes to prior research with a micro-analytic perspective on the role of health education in wider processes of social exclusion and intercultural (mis)understandings.

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