, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 285-295

Not in my body: BGH and the rise of organic milk

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Abstract

The advent of rBGH (recombinant bovinegrowth hormone) has spurred the establishment of anorganic milk industry. The food systems/commoditychain analytical framework cannot fully explain therise of this new food. An adequate understanding ofthe consumer's role in the food system/commodity chainrequires more attention to consumption as a form ofpolitics. One way to do this is to look at thepolitics of other new social movements, especiallythose contesting mainstream notions of risk. From thisapproach, organic milk consumption challenges rBGHfrom a ``Not-in-my-Body'' or ``NIMB'' politics of refusal,similar to the political refusal of neighborhoodresidents in ``Not-in-My-Backyard'' or ``NIMBY''environmental movements. The NIMB form of politics isnot a social movement of politically consciousconsumers, yet it is still a political activity inwhich consumers participate in the formation of theindustry through a process of ``reflexive consumption.''An analysis of producer-consumer discourse on milkcartons reveals the nature of this political formation.