Short cuts to safety: risk and 'rules of thumb' in accounts of food choice
UNSPECIFIED. (2003) Short cuts to safety: risk and 'rules of thumb' in accounts of food choice. HEALTH RISK & SOCIETY, 5 (1). pp. 33-52. ISSN 1369-8575Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369857031000065998
A number of 'food scares' over the past decade in Europe have generated considerable debate about public understandings of food risk, and the extent to which such understandings impact on decision making. This paper reports on a focus group study of how UK consumers discuss choosing safe food. Strategies for making food choices were, in general, characterised by confidence rather than anxiety. Although concerned in an abstract way with the safety of food and how it was monitored, 'risk' and 'safety' were rarely the primary discursive framework used for justifying food choices. Other discourses, such as health, naturalness, economy and convenience, competed with, overlapped with or were legitimated by that of 'risk'. However, everyday decision making was presented as a routine endeavour, aided by a number of 'short cuts' or rules of thumb for establishing food choices as routine and unremarkable. These short cuts divided safe from risky categories of food, but also divided preferred from despised foodstuffs in relation to other food discourses. Rules of thumb provided useful rhetorical devices for routinising accounts of food choice. In practice, however, rules of thumb are reported as being utilised in complex and contingent ways. They thus provide a sophisticated bulwark against the uncertainties of food risks when events (such as the media concern over BSE) threaten everyday trust in routine decisions.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences
|Journal or Publication Title:||HEALTH RISK & SOCIETY|
|Official Date:||March 2003|
|Number of Pages:||20|
|Page Range:||pp. 33-52|
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