The Open University Click for Handbook Home Click for Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology
Language of Food Politics
The Open University Click For The Contact Page Click For Related Sites Click For Computer Mediated lecture Click For People Page Click For Publications Page You Are In This Page
Click for Projects Introduction
The Discourse of Baby Food Labels from the Consumer’s Point of View
Presentation of GM Crop Research to Non-Specialists: a case study
Discourse of the GM Food Debate: how language choices affect public trust
Discourse of Organic Food Promotion: language, intention, and effects
you are currently in this page

Research Projects > The Discourse of the School Dinners Debate

The school meal issue is a rich site for research as it brings together many important contemporary issues of international concern. Firstly it reflects increasing disquiet about children's health and diet. Secondly, it is part of a wider debate about food politics and the need for an environmentally sustainable agriculture to feed a burgeoning world population. Thirdly, it sharply highlights differences of opinion over the degree to which the state, the market or the family should be responsible for individual well-being. Like many other issues of public concern, the school meals debate brings together stakeholders with different ways of talking about the same thing. In addition it takes place against the emotive topic of children's welfare, making interested participants determined to have their voices heard. All this makes it a particularly fruitful site for research into the role of language in shaping both policy and opinion.

This project aims to improve communication in the debate about school meals provision in Britain. It focuses upon the language of the debate, and considers the impact upon policy and opinion of different ways of talking about the issue. To do this it looks at the way language is used and understood by the diverse stakeholders, such as parents, children, teachers, nutritionists, caterers, policy makers, environmentalists, broadcasters. It applies a range of discourse analytic techniques to the genres involved, contrasting for example official reports, school newsletters, campaign literature, and media coverage. The aim is twofold. Firstly, the project seeks to inform the formation of policy and opinion on school meals by uncovering different agendas and understandings in the debate. Secondly, it seeks to develop knowledge of the role of language and different ways of talking in matters of public interest. 


Click the icon or link below to view the project report (Adobe PDF format)

Proposal (PDF)The Discourse of the School Dinners Debate - report document


Click the icon or link below to view the project proposal (Adobe PDF format).

Proposal (PDF)The Discourse of the School Dinners Debate - proposal document


Guy Cook - Principal Investigator

Julia Gillen - Co-Investigator

Alison Twiner - Researcher


home | projects | publications | people | lecture | related sites | contact

© The Open University