HOW FOOD FEARS FRAME CRITICISMS OF THE FOOD SYSTEM. A CASE STUDY OF CUSTOMERS OF FARMERS’ MARKETS
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The article investigates food fears in the context of the everyday food practices of customers of farmers’ markets in Małopolska Voivodeship, Poland. The qualitative analysis of 15 individual in-depth interviews mostly concerns topics of negative evaluation and narratives justifying the exclusion of specific products, food practices and institutions of the food chain. In particular, the study focuses on ways of defining food fears, such as chemicals in food, processed food, suspicious appearance and freshness of products and concerns associated with the place of purchase. An in-depth analysis of these topics reveals broader criticism of the food system within the narratives of the research subjects. This concerns redefinitions of relations between economic order and social institutions, removing particular cultural meaning from it, fragmentation and distancing of the production process from consumption, a lack of transparency in the food chain, and the associated ignorance. The diagnosis resulting from the interviews is expressed as food fears: it has ramifications connected to the engagement and practices of avoidance or minimisation of food threats and strategies of resistance. The analysis employs Mary Douglas’s structuralist theory of defining through negation and Peter Jackson’s food anxieties theory, as well as concepts of ignorance, distrust and social embeddedness of economic practices.
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