SOAS University of London

SOAS Food Studies Centre

Dr Zofia Boni

  • Research


Zofia Boni
Dr Zofia Boni
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Zofia is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at University of Poznan and a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the SOAS Food Studies Centre. She obtained her MA in Sociology from University of Warsaw, and her PhD in Anthropology and Sociology from SOAS, where she defended her doctoral thesis “Children and Food in Warsaw: Negotiating Feeding and Eating”. She spent a year as a visiting researcher in the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, before receiving a Fellowship from the National Science Centre in Poland for her new research project on the social dynamics of childhood obesity in Poland.

Zofia is a co-convener of the EASA Anthropology of Food network


2017. “It’s Safe: Food as a Way of Expression for Children in Warsaw”. Children’s Geographies, DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2017.1319045.

2016. “Reflections on Food in Food Research”. Anthropologies. Issue on Food. Savage Minds. Available:

2015. “Negotiating Children’s Food Culture in Post-socialist Poland”. Anthropology of Food.Special Issue on Children's Food Heritage. Available:

2014. “Contested Interactions: School Shops, Children and Food in Warsaw”. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food. 21 (3): 309 – 325. Available:

Book reviews:

2016. Review of “Dangerous Digestion. The Politics of American Dietary Advice” by Melanie DuPuis, Food, Culture and Society: An International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research 19 (4): 723 – 725.

2015. Review of “The Moral Geographies of Children, Young People and Food. Beyond Jamie's School Dinners” by Jo Pike and Peter Kelly, Children’s Geographies, DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2015.1119532.

2015. Review of "Inventing Baby Food: Taste, Health and the Industrialization of the American Diet” by Amy Bentley, Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies 15 (2): 85 – 86. DOI: 10.1525/gfc.2015.15.2.85.


My research interests concern many roles which food plays in our lives; its symbolic meanings and visceral effects, and above all the ways in which it is used to create and sustain or rupture and challenge the multitude of social relations. I am also interested in food as part of the research methodology. I study the ways in which food mediates both very intimate relations, such as between a mother and her child; more formal relations, for example in schools or between the state and its citizens; and more distant relations between global trends and tendencies, international institutions such as WHO or EU, and people’s daily experiences.

I focus especially on children and food. With my research I challenge the dominating health perspective on children and food. In my PhD I focused on the negotiations regarding feeding children in Warsaw. I studied diverse social actors, namely families, primary schools, other state institutions, food producers and marketers, non-governmental organisations and media, in order to find out about their views and influences on how children eat. I also talked to children aged 6 – 12 years old. I was interested in the relations between these different social actors. I looked at diverse moral perspectives on food, discourses and narratives about food and children, multiple experiences and practices related to feeding and eating embedded in the context of post-socialist transformation, shifting notions of parenthood and childhood, and the changing politics of food and food education in Poland.

My new research project concerns the social dynamics of childhood obesity in Poland. I want to critically deconstruct the process of making childhood fatness into a public problem and see, for example, what role do such agencies as WHO and EU play in this process; and also find out what are the experiences of adults and children who encounter childhood obesity on a daily basis, through embodying it, living with it in a family or trying to cure it.