Managing the Symbolic Power of Halal Meat in Swedish Preschools: Food for Thought in Discussions on Diversity

Jonas Stier (1) , Margareta Sandström (2)
(1) Intercultural studies, Dalarna University , Sweden
(2) Department of special education, Mälardalen University , Sweden

Abstract

Recently there has been much debate as to which foods Swedish preschools should serve. This text explores preschool teachers’ approaches to parents’ dietary requests. The empirical material consists of 14 focus group interviews with 41 preschool teachers from two areas of Stockholm. Results suggest that cultural and religious differences pertaining to food and diet requests lead to dilemmas and conflicts which are handled with instrumental multicultural or conscious multicultural approaches, whereas intercultural or transcultural approaches are rare. Among the preschool teachers in this study, this leads to avoidance strategies or efforts to change the parents’ views. Results show that the preschool curriculum provides little guidance and preschool teachers must develop their own strategies to deal with children’s and parents’ expectations and demands, often using the children as intermediaries.

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Authors

Jonas Stier
jonas.stier@mdh.se (Primary Contact)
Margareta Sandström
Author Biographies

Jonas Stier, Intercultural studies, Dalarna University

Jonas Stier is a professor of intercultural studies at Dalarna University. He has a great deal of experience in the research field of intercultural studies within a variety of contexts such as preschools, schools and higher education, and has written several books in this subject area. Further, he is strongly committed to public outreach and is a popular lecturer outside academia.

Margareta Sandström, Department of special education, Mälardalen University

Margareta Sandström is a senior professor of special education at Mälardalen University. She has a great deal of experience researching in the fields of education, special education and intercultural studies within a variety of contexts such as preschools, schools and higher education, and has written several books on this subject area. Further, she is strongly committed to teacher education.

Stier, J., & Sandström, M. (2020). Managing the Symbolic Power of Halal Meat in Swedish Preschools: Food for Thought in Discussions on Diversity. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 20(1), 92–106. https://doi.org/10.36923/jicc.v20i1.293

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