chapter  1
Beyond weak signals listening theory
From risk analysis to the management of alimentary concerns
ByJean-Pierre Poulain
Pages 26

The compressed modernity enlightens the multi-dimensionality of food risk, food security, food safety, fraud and controversial technological uses. In that context, it is therefore necessary to improve listening methods for “weak signals” likely to anticipate the understanding of crises. To do this, Poulain proposes the notion of “concern” to explore the sources of anxiety that lie in the shadow of the hierarchy of risks resulting from the classical approach. On one hand, the “real” risks that affect the health of populations are measurable in terms of mortality or morbidity; on the other hand, the “other” risks are more qualitative and not arbitrable by science. The use of “concerns” accepts the idea that the consumers’ gazes are not reducible to the problem of perception. It is a way to recognize that the social dimensions of risk are legitimate and to give to the eaters their “majority”. Finally, one should accept the idea that public actions aim not only to manage risk, but must also look for the conditions for trust. In this perspective, risk management is based on a tripod: risk evaluation by expertise, analysis of perceptions and consideration of “concerns” of eaters and citizens.