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  • Nudging must not play a role in food and taste education, states professor Karen Wistoft. Foto: Stagbird
    Nudging must not play a role in food and taste education, states professor Karen Wistoft. Foto: Stagbird

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New Nordic nudging


Article Nudging must not be an accepted pedagogic principle in relation to children’s food and meals, states Professor Karen Wistoft.

The New Nordic Diet has waved across the Danish cuisine, inspired by a specific manifest and dogma thinking developed in 1995 by four Danish movie directors. In a similar way, The New Nordic Diet got ‘vows of chastity’ in the form of ten leading principles, that should secure the quality of the food we make, serve and eat.

But contrary to the Dogme95 movement, The New Nordic Diet did not get a liberating and creativity generating foundation, rather the opposite.

Today, the doctrinaire principles have creeped into public health projects, as well as the educational system, a system where it is even customary to work with goals such as critically taking a stand, democratic education, realization and learning.

The dogma way of thinking has also meant that a specific approach, nudging, has been highlighted. The present paper is a critique of nudging in relation to children’s and young people’s food knowledge seen from a reflexive health pedagogic perspective.

Nudging apparently matches the manifest thinking and the dogma idea, of which there are numerous practical examples – especially in food and meal projects concerning children and young people. Even today, nudging dominates the pedagogic areas that are usually considered to have critically reflected fundamental values. There is practically talk of a pedagogic trendsetting, where ‘the new Nordic’ is seen as a guarantee – not just for the quality of the food, but also of the nudging. The paper’s main critique is that nudging becomes an accepted pedagogic principle in relation to children and young people’s learning and critical consciousness when it comes to food and meals, when the fixed Nordic values gets manifested. At worst, this hinders the children and the young to remain critical and to learn how to make substantiated food choices.

Full article (in Danish) available here.

Mentioned in the article

Professor, Ph.d., Aarhus University

Karen Wistoft is a member of Taste for Life’s management and in charge of the focus area Learning. She has a background in health pedagogy research and now focuses on the elementary school subject, Madkundskab, i.e. food literacy, and the development of new pedagogies and didactics of taste.