Food allergy and food intolerance: towards a sociological agenda

Nettleton, S., Woods, B., Burrows, R. and Kerr, A. (2009) Food allergy and food intolerance: towards a sociological agenda. Health, 13(6), pp. 647-664. (doi: 10.1177/1363459308341433) (PMID:19841024)

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This article asks what sociological insights an analysis of food allergy and food intolerance might afford. We outline the parameters of debates around food allergy and food intolerance in the immunological, clinical and epidemiological literatures in order to identify analytic strands which might illuminate our sociological understanding of the supposed increase in both. Food allergy and food intolerance are contested and contingent terms and it is salient that the term true food allergy is replete throughout medico-scientific, epidemiological and popular discourses in order to rebuff spurious or ‘nonallergic’ claims of food-related symptoms. Complexity theory is introduced as a means of gaining analytic purchase on the food allergy debate. The article concludes that the use of this perspective provides a contemporary example of the ‘double hermeneutic’, in that the meanings and interpretations of contemporary explanations of food allergy are both permeated by, and can be made sense of, through recourse to complexity thinking.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kerr, Professor Anne
Authors: Nettleton, S., Woods, B., Burrows, R., and Kerr, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Health
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1461-7196
Published Online:19 October 2009

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