||I am interested in Government policy, and
I have also been interested in food issues for many years, so I have
decided to study UK Government food policy.
The key question for this project is "What does the Government
think about food and farming ?" - how do they think, what is
their attitude, and what they are trying to achieve. It is a challenge
to try and do this for such a large organisation, composed of Ministers,
Civil Servants, and many other employees, consultants and agencies.
However, as the Government presents itself as a single entity when
producing policies and other collective documents, so a researcher
can feel justified in examining the official texts that the 'giant'
produces, and ascribing these to the 'Government'.
These policy and analysis issues may not immediately seem relevant,
||Food is a key area of life - each of us eats,
probably 3 times a day, and we drink many assorted liquids,
||Perhaps 10% of the population are employed in
'the food sector', that is, farming, processing, distribution
and retailing of food products in shops and markets, and supply
of food in restaurants, etc.
||Perhaps a further 10% are employed
in 'the health sector'
The details of food policy, and the influence of the government
on food production then are vitally important to each of us, as
the recent outbreaks of BSE and Foot and Mouth illustrate.
My investigation consists of four elements which link together:-
||Context Analysis - the policy field, map and players
in the UK food sector.
|| Government Policy for food and farming - choosing
a key text for deeper analysis
|| Theoretical approaches from Critical Discourse
Analysis and Text Analysis, and developing an Analysis Toolbox
from these. This information is mostly in the
parallel site to this one, focussing on the Discourse Toolbox
||Analysis - using the Toolbox to analyse the Text
This analysis has generated a lot of information, so I have:-
5. Looked in greater depth at some particular issues generated by
6. Reflected these results back to the original Context Analysis.(triangulated
I have used the policies for animals and meat production as a theme
for study throughout this work. I have focussed on food policies,
but I want to make clear that there are also wider land use issues,
which have major impacts on food production, which are also touched
on in this report.
My main source has been the Departmental Report for 2001 from the
Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food. MAFF is now DEFRA, but
the policies are essentially the same. This Departmental Report
contains the Department's 'Aims and Objectives', and this is the
key text I have chosen to analyse. The Aims and Objectives are worked
out in a number of ways in the Departmental Report - into programmes
and plans for internal change in the Department, and into policies,
regulations and laws for the food producers and suppliers, thus
influencing the human food chain and the environment in general.
The main direction of my work is to enquire "What does the
Government think about food and farming?" Although this is
quite a useful question to pose for research purposes, is very generalised
and almost unanswerable, so I also want to use several subsidiary
goals to give the study a more finite focus:-
- I am more interested in looking at 'how policy makers think'
(rather than in criticising what they have done).
- I am interested in the mechanisms of Government, Civil Service,
policy, politics and mass communication media, and how these work
- I am curious about the role of Government nowadays in the fields
it operates in - is government policy effective, or are they just
another player in a global field ?
- I wanted to create a Text Analysis Toolbox, and test this in
- I am interested in the deeper (even instinctual) issues around