Reference : Reflections on the notion of 'consumer behaviour'
Scientific congresses and symposiums : Unpublished conference
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Anthropology
Reflections on the notion of 'consumer behaviour'
Hendrickx, Kim[Université de Liège - ULg > Département de science politique > Gouvernance et société >]
3rd annual congres of the Belgian Nutrition Society (BNS) 'Nutrition and Behaviour'. New insights for better solutions?"
[en] Today, consumer behavior has become a key concept in scientific publications and in international public health strategies. Both 'behavior' and the 'consumer' are in the title of the 3rd annual conference of the Belgian Nutrition Society. This paper proposes a reflection on these concepts, and invites for further discussion. Firstly, the 'consumer' and his attributes will be briefly explored through an analysis of the Health Claims Regulation EC No 1924/2006. This document, intended to protect consumers from misleading information, uses a model of the consumer rooted in rational choice theory. Secondly, as medical sociologist David Armstrong (2009) has shown, the term 'behavior' has been brought in relation to health outcomes only relatively recently in medicine and public health. As such, it has come to be defined as a modifiable risk factor. I argue that European public health strategies have integrated this definition of behavior and the related idea of 'lifestyle' into rational choice theory. As such, 'behavior' and 'lifestyle' frame problems of health and disease in a specific way. The third section of this paper will confront this model of problem-framing with different understandings of 'behavior' coming from historical and contemporary sociological research.