Food and Risk - a Sociological Risk Discourse Perspective

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal 46 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Charlotte FABIANSSON, Sociology, College of Arts, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia
In contemporary society, the risk concept has become an everyday expression referring to real and perceived situations that can be professed as dangerous. It has become easy to perceive life as more dangerous than in ancient time given the prevalence of negative mass media stories, as well as a political and policy emphasis on risk and security.

Food habits are among the most deeply ingrained forms of human behaviour and food and beverages, although central to life and pleasure might also carry some inherent or introduced risks of causing harm to human health and wellbeing. Risk is an all encompassing but fairly nebulous concept applicable to many facets of life.

Within the sociology discipline, risks have been analysed mainly from three theoretical perspectives: the socio-cultural risk discourse, the risk society discourse and the governmental risk discourse.

In this paper, I discuss the disparity between scientific knowledge and public perception of risks in relation to food production, processing and consumption, where scientific knowledge and public perception often contradict each other about what constitutes a risk.