Intertwined ambiguities: Meat, in vitro meat, and the ideological construction of the marketplace

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Political stakeholders play a critical role in the cultural construction of the marketplace, and consumers often look to them for guidance in framing ambiguous cultural and scientific issues. Unfortunately, however, the existing consumer culture literature usually focuses on consumers' use of ideology while neglecting stakeholders' ideological orientations. In order to address this gap, I ask two questions: First, how do stakeholders draw upon ideology in order to make sense of ambiguous goods and of the extant and potential reactions of consumers to these goods? Second, what are the potential political consequences of stakeholders' ideological commitments vis-a-vis supporters and outside audiences? I explore these questions by interviewing agrifood system stakeholders on the subject of in vitro meat, a nascent technology whereby meat is produced through stem cell cultures. Although ideology serves as a useful tool with which stakeholders can navigate labyrinth-like cultural conundrums, stakeholders' ideological positions can also result in ambiguities, ironies, and incongruities. By investigating the beginnings of a potential consumer controversy, this study illuminates how ideology operates as an epistemic resource for political claims-makers and how stakeholders' ideological commitments can result in either rewards or repercussions from allies and consumers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-482
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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