Category Archives: ACYIG Blog

Latest Spotlight on Scholarship: Funk et al. on how sweet potatoes can replace teddy bears in child development

We are a team of six authors from Germany, the US, and India with backgrounds in socio-cultural anthropology and cultural psychology. Our book explores multifaceted linkages between culturally specific feeding practices and human bonding based on ethnographic case studies from Morocco, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Costa Rica.






A comparative analysis of our ethnographic research demonstrates that there are many culturally valued ways of feeding children, contradicting the idea of a single, universally best feeding standard. We show that in many parts of the world feeding plays a central role in human bonding and relationship formation, something largely overlooked by attachment theory and related approaches. Our analysis further demonstrates that feeding contributes to relationship formation through different socio-emotional dimensions, which we label proximal, transactional, and distal. Each of these relates to a specific aspect of the feeding relationship (e.g., physical intimacy, food as a life-sustaining gift, conviviality) and is experienced by qualitatively distinct emotions. Finally, we argue that feeding practices can lead to different forms of relationships. Through feeding and eating together, caregivers express core values about how different generations should relate to each other. In our research sites, intergenerational feeding relationships are either hierarchically organized, or characterized by a mix of egalitarian and hierarchical orientations.

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Latest Spotlight on Scholarship: Francesca Meloni’s Way’s of Belonging

In Canada, as in many other countries around the world, undocumented young people are struggling to access social rights such as education and healthcare. Their lives are shaped by chronic uncertainty and invisibility due to restrictive anti-migration policies, leaving thousands of young people caught between the movements of hiding and running for fear of being deported. How do these young people navigate everyday interactions when they have to hide themselves and their legal status? How do they relate to their social environment when they might be deported and separated from their friends at any moment?

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Children as Political Subjects in the Age of Uncertainty

by Seran Demiral (Boğaziçi University, Primary Education & at Kadir Has University, City and Children Studies)

In our contemporary world, certainty has left its place to flexibility, adaptability and willingness to change (Lee 2005:19). A new sociology of childhood addresses children’s agency to debate child ‘beings’ as both individuals for their own lives and social actors to affect the world. At that point, agency matter is discussed through other concepts, like subjectivity and/or competency. Bollig and Kelle (2016:37) claim that “the acting subject or the competent actor is replaced with a concept of participation in practices.” It is obvious that not only globalization but also digital technologies have changed our culture so that “from a global perspective childhood culture is becoming more homogenized” (Prout 2005:29). Besides, politics and childhood movements all over the world have become similar, especially during this decade.

Atlas Sarrafoğlu, Greta Thunberg, Selin Gören respectively[1]


Children can be aware of what happens in other places of the world and how their peers live. As it is known that Greta Thunberg has become an enormous inspiration for many children and young people from different countries, for instance, Atlas Sarrafoğlu gave a start for children’s climate activism in Turkey. Atlas was also honoured by the 2020 WWF International President’s Youth Award (BIA 2020), which is an indicator that childhood movements can be seen by institutions and authorities. After several months of children’s first universal school strike, Atlas and another young activist from Turkey, Selin Gören, attended the “Smile for Future summit” in Lausanne, Switzerland. Their meeting might have affected Greta’s sensitivity about ecologic resistance in Canakkale, so that she said, “Ida Mountains belong to us all” in Turkish (BIA 2019).