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

Samantha Stone, Kyoko Murakami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)


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)799-812
Number of pages14
JournalChildren & Society
Issue number5
Early online date29 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) granted to the Department of Education, University of Bath, as the ESRC PhD studentship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Children & Society published by National Children's Bureau and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • laughter
  • primary school
  • school mealtimes
  • socialisation
  • subversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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