Strategic ignorance and crises of trust: Un-anticipating futures and governing food supply chains in the shadow of Horsegate

Jeremy Brice, Andrew Donaldson, Jane Midgley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper explores how transnational food supply chains are governed and secured through examining the 2013 horsemeat scandal, during which processed beef products were adulterated with horseflesh. Drawing on theories of governmentality and ignorance studies, it argues that the apparent ignorance among food businesses about their supply chains which this event exposed arises in response to a regulatory apparatus which renders businesses responsible for taking precautions only against foreseeable threats to food safety and authenticity. Limiting their knowledge of their supply chains therefore enables food businesses to control their ability to anticipate (and their liability or) crises.This paper highlights the role of strategic ignorance in rendering future events unforeseeable and ungovernable, and inmediating the politics
of accountability and responsibilitywithin anticipatory governmental apparatuses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-641
Number of pages23
JournalEconomy and Society
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Anticipation
  • Governmentality
  • Ignorance
  • Food scares
  • Supply chain
  • Horsemeat

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