SOAS University of London

Department of Anthropology and Sociology

Zofia Boni

Masters in Sociology (University of Warsaw)
  • Overview


Zofia Boni
Miss Zofia Boni
Email address:
Thesis title:
Children and Food in Warsaw: Negotiating Feeding and Eating (working title).
Year of Study:

PhD Research

The issue of children and food is growing in importance world widely, it has been scrutinized and politicized and is more and more debated. However in Poland it has not been thoroughly studied. Moreover in public discourses and often also academic debates, the diversified relationships between children and food are frequently reduced to the issue of health and intervening in children's, and their parents, food practices. With my research I take a broader and more critical perspective and study the multiple experiences, practices and discourses related to feeding children and children's eating in the context of post-socialist Poland. I focus on children aged between 6 and 12 years old.
I have conducted 12 months of fieldwork in Warsaw, between September 2012 and August 2013. My ethnographic research was mostly focused on studying families and primary schools, but also state institutions, food industry, NGOs and media – all influencing the process of feeding children and children's eating. I used diverse methods including interviews, participant observation, data analysis, and also drawing and taking photographs when working with children, who I treat as separate agents.
I perceive feeding and eating as interrelated processes which cannot be studied separately as they continuously and in diverse ways influence each other and are depended on each other. In my PhD I am interested in the negotiations concerning feeding and eating, which engage diverse people (mothers, fathers, grandparents, daughters, sons, school students, teachers, nutritionists, marketers, activists, state officials, politicians, dieticians, journalists) and diverse institutions (schools, state agencies and institutes, food companies, NGOs), and take place in diverse spaces (at the dinner table, in the supermarket, in the school canteen, in the parliament).
Feeding children is a collective experience, one that is continuously influenced by children themselves. The issue of children and food has become extremely emotional and political; it reflects the existing cultural codes and social anxieties, and at the same time is deeply personal and intimate. In my PhD I engage with all of those issues, trying to discuss not only how the way in which children eat is negotiated between diverse social actors, but also why it has become such a contested topic.     

PhD Publications

  • Boni, Z. (forthcoming) "Contested Interactions: School Shops, Children and Food in Warsaw", International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food.
  • Boni, Z. (forthcoming) “Negotiating Children’s Food Culture in Post-socialist Poland”, Anthropology of Food Journal, Special Issue on Children' Food Heritages.

PhD Conferences

  • January 2015. "Pink and White Marshmallows and Apples Straight From the Tree: The Morality of Children's Food in Warsaw". SOAS Food Forum, London.
  • June 2014. "Feeding Children: Family Negotiations in Warsaw". Conference "Food and Society", British Sociological Association Food Study Group, London.
  • June 2014. "Children's Everyday Food Negotiations in Primary Schools in Warsaw". Anthropology in London Day Conference.
  • June 2014. "Feeding a Child, Eating as a Child: Children and Family Foodways in Warsaw". SOAS Food Studies Centre Postgraduate Research Workshop "Navigating Foodways: Questions and dilemmas in thinking through/with food", London.
  • February 2014. "The Social Life of School Shops in Warsaw". Conference "Food, Children and Youth: What’s Eating”, Institute of Social Science, University of Lisbon, Portugal.
  • May 2013. "Food in Primary Schools in Warsaw: Findings from Ethnographic Research". Seminar on Socio-cultural Contexts of Food Practices, Anthropology Department, University of Warsaw, Department of Sociology and Philosophy, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.
  • August 2013. "Children and Food in Warsaw: Discourses, Practices and the Process of Feeding". Summer School "Temporalities of food", European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food, Tours, France.


  • BSA Food Study Group