Food trust in low trust environments. Negotiating food trust in Belgian prisons

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This article examines how food trust is negotiated in Belgian penitentiaries. The study of food trust in prison, provides a particular context where the process can be understood in a low trust environment, and framed within a wider debate about food trust that has focused predominantly on how confidence is constructed in the context of outside society. A qualitative study, based on 60 in-depth interviews conducted with prisoners (41) and prison staff (19) and participant observations in prison kitchens, was carried out in five Belgian prisons. The findings show first, that trust in prisoners who work in the kitchen, and trust in external actors such as food control bodies or religious representatives that regularly visit the kitchens, can facilitate a negotiation of trust. Secondly, and contextually related to the above, is the importance of respecting religious and cultural norms in establishing a climate of food trust. Finally, the results additionally indicate that a lack of information, and/or incorrect information about cleanliness, at times led to food distrust.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104385
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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