Children's humour and the grotesque pleasures in school mealtime socialisation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we argue for two propositions: children are socialised and guided to become competent members of school mealtime community, and children have the capacity to modify and challenge existing practices. We draw on Bakhtin's concepts of the carnivalesque laughter and grotesque realism to illustrate how children use humour to test the boundaries of what is permitted. Children's mealtime interactions foster the development of social skills to subvert and negotiate adult authority and manage unfolding interactions between children and adults. We present findings from a child‐centred perspective in a primary school in the United Kingdom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
JournalChildren & Society
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2021


  • School mealtimes
  • Socialisation
  • Laughter
  • Subversion
  • Primary school

Cite this