Social Limits to Trust. The Significance of Embeddedness for Consumers Coping with Uncertainty

Except for few studies, not many have analyzed the significance of embeddedness and networks for consumers coping with uncertainty. In our explorative study based on focus groups in Norway and Germany, consumers’ attitudes to purchasing of seafood are further explored. We find that fish in various contexts is conceived as “spooky”, which signifies its credence attributes. According to a conversational analysis, we find that consumers classify seafood along various dimensions associated with both health risk and sensory quality. Most salient is the distinction between fresh fish and frozen fish. Whereas frozen fish very seldom entails notions of risk, purchasing of fresh fish evokes scepticism and uncertainty. We discuss strategies among consumers for coping with uncertainty, and find that consumers discern between various types of outlets in order to attain predictability. There is a strong belief in the superiority of the “cold chain” and “industrial standards” among supermarkets and discounters for granting quality of frozen fish, while these trust factors do not count for fresh fish. Instead consumers attend certain speciality shops that are selected either by own trials and errors or from information mediated through embedded networks.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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