Consuming risk, consuming science: the case of GM foods

Leanne Gardiner, Deborah Lupton

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    44 Citations (Scopus)


    This article presents some findings from a study investigating notions of risk among Britons, with a focus on interviewees working as professionals in high technology (high-tech) or science industries. The discussion examines our interviewees' responses to risks related to the consumption of genetically modified (GM) food. Our study sought to elicit personal experiences as part of an individual biography of risk which included specific concerns about food consumption as part of an 'everyday' set of risk perceptions.We found that many interviewees enjoyed adopting a 'scientific knowledge' identity in the interview, emphasizing seeking 'fact' about the risk associated with GM foods from a wide range of media 'opinion', and were confident about their own ability to control most risks. However, they also constructed a 'two nations' view of a knowledge-based economy, involving a disparity between 'haves' (themselves) and others, generally because of the faster, more demanding, no 'job for life' nature of the 'flexible economy'. Consumption ' including consumption of science ' far from being a democratic equivalence of citizenship,was thus seen as the historical cause of ontological insecurity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)363-383
    Number of pages21
    JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002


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