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This book explores the new applications of established theories or adapts theoretical approaches in order to illuminate behaviour in the field of food. It focuses on social processes at the downstream end of the food chain, processes of distribution and consumption. The book reviews the existing disciplinary approaches to understanding judgements about food taste. It suggests that the quality 'halal' is the result of a social and economic consensus between the different generations and cultures of migrant Muslims as distinct from the non-Muslim majority. Food quality is to be viewed in terms of emergent cognitive paradigms sustained within food product networks that encompass a wide range of social actors with a wide variety of intermediaries, professional and governmental. The creation of the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) occurred at a juncture when perceptions of policy failure were acknowledged at United Kingdom and European Union governmental levels. The book presents a case study of retailer-led food governance in the UK to examine how different 'quality logics' actually collide in the competitive world of food consumption and production. It argues that concerns around food safety were provoked by the emergence of a new food aesthetic based on 'relationalism' and 'embeddedness'. The book also argues that the study of the arguments and discourses deployed to criticise or otherwise qualify consumption is important to the political morality of consumption.

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Some key issues in understanding its competitive production and regulation
Terry Marsden

chap 6 13/8/04 4:23 pm Page 129 6 Theorising food quality: some key issues in understanding its competitive production and regulation Terry Marsden Introduction Recent debates concerning food quality offer an important window on the changing nature of broader social, political and economic relations. Not least, this has reinforced a more serious concern with understanding food consumption processes; through more theorisation and conceptualisation of social and natural factors in the context of wider consumption trends and processes (see Goodman 2002). In

in Qualities of food
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Relational reflexivity in the ‘alternative’ food movement
Jonathan Murdoch and Mara Miele

chap 7 13/8/04 4:17 pm Page 156 7 A new aesthetic of food? Relational reflexivity in the ‘alternative’ food movement Jonathan Murdoch and Mara Miele Introduction In recent times, an apparent contradiction between high levels of output and improved food quality has arisen within the food sector. The development of mass food markets, alongside ‘Fordist’ methods of production and their associated economies of scale, has generated unprecedented abundance (Montanari 1994). Yet, at the same time, industrialisation processes have resulted, seemingly, in greater and

in Qualities of food
Discourses, contestation and alternative consumption
Roberta Sassatelli

chap 8 13/8/04 4:24 pm Page 176 8 The political morality of food: discourses, contestation and alternative consumption Roberta Sassatelli Anthropology and sociology have been keen to show that consumption is a social and moral field, and that consumer practices are part of an ongoing process of negotiation of social classifications and hierarchies. Food consumption in particular has been associated with symbolically mediated notions of order (Douglas and Isherwood 1979). We know that particular foods are identified with annual festivities, set apart for

in Qualities of food
David Barling

chap 5 13/8/04 4:22 pm Page 108 5 Food agencies as an institutional response to policy failure by the UK and the EU David Barling Introduction The UK public’s confidence in the quality of the modern food supply, and in the governance of that supply, took a buffeting through a series of food safety crises in the 1980s and 1990s. The much-quoted list ranged from pesticide residues to salmonella in eggs, to BSE (which was estimated as a cost of over £4 billion to the public purse) and E.coli 0157. The internal market of the EU shared in some of those incidents

in Qualities of food
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A cognitive perspective
Gilles Allaire

chap 3 13/8/04 4:14 pm Page 61 3 Quality in economics: a cognitive perspective1 Gilles Allaire Introduction The importance of food quality issues in the contemporary global context is well established. Since the early 1990s we have seen developments in nutrition, life sciences and biotech programmes; the setting up of food quality standards in Europe as well as in other OECD countries; the heightened focus of the media on food issues and a series of food safety crises. On the market side these trends have included a reconsideration of business strategy on

in Qualities of food
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Mark Harvey, Andrew McMeekin and Alan Warde

intro 13/8/04 4:11 pm Page 1 Introduction Mark Harvey, Andrew McMeekin and Alan Warde Food and quality Food in late modern societies is marked by controversy. It was never a matter of indifference, of course, in other times and places. Yet, with the food supply secured in the western world against the seasons, pestilence and drought, with most foods wholesome, and mostly available at affordable prices, its significance as a topic of political argument must appear somewhat surprising. Subject to enormous scrutiny – in the media, through political disputation

in Qualities of food
A sociology of the amateur
Geneviève Teil and Antoine Hennion

chap 1 13/8/04 4:12 pm Page 19 1 Discovering quality or performing taste? A sociology of the amateur Geneviève Teil and Antoine Hennion This chapter draws on a study of amateurs’ – music- and food-lovers’ – practices, to show that taste is an activity and not a passive or determined state. We use the words ‘amateur’, ‘taste’ and ‘lover’ in their broad senses referring to any form of love or practice, and not only the restrictive cultured sense of a connoisseurship centred on a knowledge of the object itself. Amateurism is contrasted, on the one hand, to the

in Qualities of food
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Quality and processes of qualification
Mark Harvey, Andrew McMeekin and Alan Warde

‘quality’, reminding anyone who would want to use the term that it is not a unified onedimensional concept. Nor is it one that can easily be defined and delimited. Genevieve Teil and Antoine Hennion are perhaps the most radical in their insistence that, as regards quality in food, several criteria pertain, none of which has priority. They observe that academic disciplines, which have themselves in the past taken on the role of arbiters of quality, tend to view the matter narrowly in the light of the presuppositions of their own specialisms and theoretical preoccupations

in Qualities of food
The (un)predictability of modern consumption
Jukka Gronow

demand for consumer goods and services. They do not tell us what the next novelties will be, but they do tell us that to be successful any novelties will be embedded in complex social practices and rules. In our modern food culture there are at least some such relatively wellknown and clear-cut aesthetic standards and etiquettes of taste to which some particular consumer goods or product groups belong and from which they derive their special worth and value. An almost classic example is the classification of wines according to a very complex taste system, corresponding

in Qualities of food