chapter  11
25 Pages

Translating for politico-epistemic authority

Comparing food safety agencies in Germany and in the UK
WithRebecca-Lea Korinek

This chapter shows how the sociology of translation can help students and scholars to understand how actors attempt to establish epistemic and political authority in terms of governing risks. It focuses on food safety agencies in Germany and the United Kingdom, comparing how they act as translators producing and circulating ‘guidance documents’ to regulate their risk assessment practices. Knowing the risks related to the production and consumption of food is represented as a practice of asking whether food is safe in the narrowest scientistic sense. The chapter shows how food safety agencies, in their attempt to build and cultivate political and epistemic authority in terms of a specific way of knowing and governing risks, produce and circulate guidance documents. The cases of food safety agencies in Germany and in the UK are particularly suitable settings for comparatively studying the generation of politico-epistemic authority.