Risk Stories in the Media: Food Consumption, Risk and Anxiety
Summary, in English
Although media-fueled food scares are often described as linked to consumers’ food anxieties, previous studies of food consumption have failed to explore fully how foodscare reports add to consumers’ anxieties. Using a relational theory of risk and a narrative approach, this article highlights how food-scare reports, through various risk accounts, create anxiety-inducing stories where consumers are appointed as handlers of conflicting food risks. Based on material collected from a 2009 Swedish food scare, the article suggests that food-scare reports construct multiple conflicting risks. The analysis also shows that news reports make consumers responsible for handling these risks and, in addition, involve conflicting instructions regarding how consumers should handle the risks described. The article concludes that it is the combination of conflicting risks and conflicting prescriptions for handling those risks that feeds consumers’ anxieties.