understanding conflicting perspectives in the light of moral theory
As in many other areas, there is a divide between lay and expert perceptions of risk within the food sector, and this can lead to disagreement over priorities in food risk management. The risk perception literature tends to stress that the parties involved in this disagreement have different concepts of risk and hence are bound more or less to talk at cross-purposes. This paper suggests an alternative analysis: In the light of moral theory, the conflicting perspectives can be understood as a genuine moral conflict. When this conflict is conceptualised, a rational dialogue becomes possible. The paper reports a series of qualitative interviews with lay people and experts on zoonotic food risks. The interviews are used to reconstruct the values underlying some of the dominant perspectives. The conflict between these stylised perspectives is then analysed with the help of moral theory. Finally, some consequences for risk communication are made clear.
International Journal of Food Microbiology, 2005, Vol 99, Issue 3, p. 245-255