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International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food

Published by Michigan State University

Official publication of the Research Committee on Sociology of Agriculture and Food (RC-40)
of the International Sociological Association (ISA)

Editors: Raymond Jussaume, Claire Marris and Katerina Psarikidou

Frequency: 3 issues per year 
ISSN: 0798-1759

Volume 20 Issue 1 (2013)

Download entire Issue  as one PDF

The Negotiation of Quality Standards:

Social Interactionist Approach to Fruit and Vegetable Distribution in Argentina                                                  127-146

Maria Laura Viteri and Alberto Arce

Abstract            PDF

This article addresses food quality standards. It suggests that writing on standards creates a flat view of the subject, failing to grasp the richness of the multiple self-organizing practices that shape quality within functioning markets. The article documents the social dimension of quality and the ‘quality strategies’ developed by fresh-food wholesalers, greengrocers and producers in the Buenos Aires Wholesale Central Market, Argentina. These strategies assemble the freshfood market and construct a representation of quality as an aspect of trade in places where food exchanges are conducted. Using a social interactionist approach, we propose that attention needs to be given to the settings in which food quality standards are negotiated and used by different actors. In so doing we suggest that studies that focus on the diffusion of ‘global’ quality standards should not omit consideration of differential responses to these standards, even if the conditions appear relatively homogeneous. 

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