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Food Fight! The Swedish Low-Carb/High Fat (LCHF) Movement and the Turning of Science Popularisation Against the Scientists

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Andreas Gunnarsson
Mark Elam
Publicerad i Science as Culture
Volym 21
Nummer/häfte 3
Sidor 315-334
ISSN 0950-5431
Publiceringsår 2012
Publicerad vid Institutionen för sociologi och arbetsvetenskap
Sidor 315-334
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1080/09505431.2011.63...
Ämnesord Science popularisation, low-carbohydrate diet, LCHF, Sweden, authentic testimony, coronary heart-disease, popularization
Ämneskategorier Sociologi


Science popularisation is widely recognised as having its 'political uses' and as serving as a conventional means for buttressing the epistemic authority of the institutions of science in society. By separating the work of producing new knowledge from its dissemination, popularisation promotes public understanding and appreciation of science placed beyond public reach and influence. However, simply by insisting upon such a separation, so popularisation remains vulnerable to 'capture' by skilled and resourceful communicators intent on turning it against the established authority of scientists. This is a phenomenon which can be analysed in relation to the communicative strategies pursued by a collection of general practitioners, diabetics and self-styled dietary experts in Sweden championing a low-carbohydrate/high fat (LCHF) dietetics akin to the Diet Revolution initiated by Robert Atkins in the early 1970s. By dedicating themselves to achieving an overwhelming public presence in the propagation of simplified accounts of dietary science, the LCHF movement has been able to fashion science popularisation into a weapon capable of being turned back upon established dietary expertise in Sweden. In this effort they have proceeded on two fronts; firstly by debunking established dietary advice for failing to live up to idealised standards of 'sound science', and secondly, by effectively mobilising the personal testimony and endorsements of dieters themselves in order to publicly confirm the authenticity and trustworthiness of the LCHF regimen.

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