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Mucky carrots and other proxies: [roblematising the knowledge-fix for sustainable and ethical consumption

Eden, Sally, Bear, Christopher and Walker, Gordon 2008. Mucky carrots and other proxies: [roblematising the knowledge-fix for sustainable and ethical consumption. Geoforum 39 (2) , pp. 1044-1057. 10.1016/j.geoforum.2007.11.001

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This paper uses evidence from focus groups in England to consider how consumers think about and, more importantly, distinguish foods by both primary and secondary qualities, using both their own judgement but also advice produced by various organisations acting as ‘knowledge intermediaries’, such as independent certification bodies. We thus consider the ‘sorting out’ that consumers do with food, particularly in developing typologies of ‘goodness’ and ‘badness’, and the cues on which they base these judgements, from the material immediacy of ‘mucky carrots’ to the abstract remoteness of organic certification. In particular, we problematise the ‘knowledge-fix’ that underlies attempts to provide knowledge to promote more sustainable and ethical consumption. This raises problems of how consumers give assurance schemes meaning, how ethical and sustainable schemes are subject to re-fetishization and how consumers tend towards increasing scepticism and distrust of such claims, thus making a ‘politics of reconnection’ far from easy.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Uncontrolled Keywords: Consumers; Knowledge; Trust; Food; Sustainable and ethical consumption
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0016-7185
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:08

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