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Governing consumption : mobilising 'the consumer' within genetically modified and organic food networks
The history of food production, distribution and regulation is replete with attempts to influence and control the consumption behaviour of others. Examples range from direct state intervention in what substances are ingested (e.g. the iodization of salt) to more subtle attempts to influence the decisions people are likely to make through advertising, education and scientific advice (e.g. the 'Food Pyramid'). Attempts to influence food consumption are often characterized by conflict and debate. Attempts to mobilize people as consumers of genetically modified (GM) and organic foods in particular show this conflict to manifest in a range of social spheres including, broadly, regulatory processes and institutions, the media and public relations, social movement organizations and the marketplace (Babninard and ]osling 2001). In this chapter we are. not concerned with debates between proponents of GM and organic foods as such, but with the broader range of strategies deployed by proponents of GM and organic foods to mobilize people as consumers of these foods.