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Lay immunology, local foods and rural identity: defending unpasteurised milk in England

Enticott, Gareth Paul ORCID: 2003. Lay immunology, local foods and rural identity: defending unpasteurised milk in England. Sociologia Ruralis 43 (3) , pp. 257-270. 10.1111/1467-9523.00244

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Recent policy statements on the future directions for agriculture have expressed the importance of the alternative food economy in promoting rural sustainability and improving public health. This paper suggests that these aims can prove incompatible. Alternative constructions of health and safety are likely to resist official discourses of healthy eating as a result of ‘lay immunologies’ and different cultures of nature. A Ministry of Agriculture consultation exercise on the consumption of unpasteurised milk is analysed to show how people living in rural areas situate health in particular versions of nature to cure and immunise the body from illness. These lay immunologies reconfigure the boundaries of purity/impurity by emphasising the importance of nature, bacteria, dirt and rawness in promoting health. This view is also deeply embedded in notions of rural identity and ‘defensive localism’. Scientific recommendations to purify foods are therefore resisted as an erosion of rural identity.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0038-0199
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 14:33

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