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Legitimized fraud and the state-corporate criminology of food – a Spectrum-based theory

  • Kenneth Sebastian Leon
  • Ivy Ken
Article

Abstract

The role that food corporations have in determining our health and nutrition is concomitant with the power and influence that corporations exercise across all commercial sectors. These large, powerful, and often multinational entities – collectively referred to as Big Food – employ a robust array of strategies to advance the organizational interests associated with a seemingly paradoxical business model: securing the continuous and ever-growing consumption of food products increasingly associated with negative health outcomes. As this model proliferates globally, the implications of this contradiction warrant specific attention to the activities of Big Food corporations through a critical criminological framework. The pervasive and increasingly legitimized activity of Big Food relies on a legal, regulatory, and moral framework that allows for the relegation of all non-market oriented value systems to be secondary to a pro-corporatist ideological and moral superstructure. Whereas previous scholarship has contributed to an understanding of what occurs when profit-maximization values collide with – and then co-opt – public health and nutrition interests, the present study offers a spectrum-based theory to explain how various degrees of food fraud are systematically incentivized by the legal privileges of corporations and the hegemonic moral economy of neoliberal governance.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Gregg Barak, Alejandro Portes, Dwight C. Smith, Jr., and the anonymous reviewers of this journal for providing helpful feedback at earlier stages of the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Latino & Caribbean StudiesRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyGeorge Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA

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