Gilles Fumey est professeur de géographie culturelle de l’alimentation à l’université Paris-Sorbonne.

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Alimentation, risk and health

Head: Gilles Fumey

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The word « food » refers to what the SHS calls, a “total social fact” which is not a disciplinary field as such. So it requires crossed approaches to grafp the major changes at work today in the world, especially through the medical prism towards risks.

The pole gathers for this first year researchers in information and communication sciences, history, geography, around two main axes:

– Information, prevention and acceptability of the food risks

In a context where quality and composition of food is suspected, the controversies related to the consumer information on risks, questions the work of the industrialist’s certification by the public authorities and by the social actors. How signs build up and circulate and how devices indicating potential risks are elaborated?

The science’s words give away to the actor’s opinions on the information and the guidance of the food decision resulting from the technoscientific (experts, researchers), sociopolitical (public authorities, ONG, associations consumerists) and economic (industrialists, distributors)spheres. The international institution’s bursing in (UNO declaring obesity a world plague) dramatizes the question.

The controversies and “scandalous affairs” (Séralini, Findus, Bisphenol,…) require to set straight the informative, normative and prescriptive speeches through the specific devices appearing on the products, the institutional communication, the systems of mediation.

Crossing an additional degree in the food fears, the Japanese confronted with irradiated food after Fukushima can be dealt with. The comparison can be inlighting, thinking of the way societies build their relation to the invisibility of pollution or the fraud in the case of the crisis on the reading-cooked dishes in France or of the avian flu in Hongkong.

– Mediation of the consumer’s confidence: the question of the food’s appearance

When building up systems of confidence, sensory perceptions, the knowledge transmitted by the habits and the batteries of standards allows building a cognitive equipment which helps to make choices.

History of the food shows the systems of fraud regulation, rise of food coloring, then their-fall.

The need for naturality is expressed by the worship of colourless, synonymous with purity which reflex devices produced by actors like the industrialists, the public authorities, the consumers. From real nature (spring water)to reconstructed nature (reconstruded products), strategies are numerous to thwart the announced risks.

Membres du pôle et chercheurs associés aux activités

  • François Allard (Celsa, Gripic)
  • Nicolas Baumert (Nagoya University)
  • Michael Bruckert (Université Paris-Sorbonne)
  • Nicole D’Almeida (Celsa, Gripic)
  • Céline Hervé-Bazin (Celsa, Gripic)
  • Gilles Fumey (Université Paris-Sorbonne)
  • Christophe Lavelle (Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, CNRS)
  • Dominique Pagès (Celsa, Gripic)
  • Pierre Raffard (Université d’Izmir, Turquie)
  • Jean-Pierre Williot (Université de Tours, IEHCA)

Activités en cours

Ce pôle organise le séminaire Penser l’alimentation de demain, dont le calendrier est disponible pour 2015.