Food, feeding and the material everyday geographies of infants: possibilities and potentials

2016-02-24T16:44:52Z (GMT) by Louise Holt
This paper forges an agenda for researching geographies of infants. Scholars have tended to overlook the everyday geographies of very young children. However, outside of geography, infancy is seen as a specifically dynamic period of life, and is subject to sustained research and policy intervention. In particular, early childhood is viewed as a key point in which to intervene to transform enduring, interconnected, societal, educational, and health based inequalities (Department of Health and Department for Education, 2013; US Early Head Start Act, 2007). Food and feeding are seen as critical both to the health of infants now and of the children and adults they become (NHS Start 4 Life, 2010). However, much policy and research under-theorises the importance of socio-spatial contexts and the subjectivity/agency of infants. There is, then, an urgent need for geographers to put infants onto the agenda, to inform and challenge these dominant accounts. Researching with infants necessitates not just critiquing modern, liberal notions of an autonomous subject/agent, but developing a new way of understanding subjectivity and agency. Drawing upon Lupton’s (2013) notion of infant-carer interembodiment, I suggest a way forward with reference to the material geographies of infant feeding.