Staff of the Section for Consumption, Bioethics and Governance – University of Copenhagen

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Jesper Lassen

Jesper Lassen


Primary fields of research

My main interest is research into the interface between science, technology and society with particular focus on issues in relation to food and agriculture. Within this field, I have a particular interest in understanding how technologies are interpreted, adapted, shaped and managed by society. I use primarily qualitative sociological methods such as focus group interviews, individual and text analysis when studying these issues.

My research has addressed these questions within a number of different thematic fields:

GM foods

I have, since the late 1980s, participated in several Danish and EU research projects addressing the societal reception of the new biotechnologies. A core interest has been to understand how differences in values and risk perceptions can help explain the lasting controversy between a skeptical population and the more enthusiastic researchers and industries. In addition I have studied GM food policies, with particular attention to the role of participatory procedures.

Food safety and risks

Here my main focus is to understand how different actors understand food related risks such as salmonellosis, BES and other zoonosis. I am particularly interested in understanding how and why safety related perceptions of lay people differ from those of the experts. Another interest in relation to food safety concern what technologies lay people see as acceptable tools to mitigate the risks.

Human-animal relations

My third empirical field is human-animal relations with a particular focus on uses of animals in agricultural production and as animal models in e.g. medical research. Within this field I carry out research into different actors’ perceptions of animals and how they justify different uses for e.g. meat, animal models or pets. A particular interest concern how consumers’ relation to the meat they eat is deprived of most signs that the meat is of animal origin.

Organic foods

Within this theme I have an interest in how consumers and organic producers have different perceptions and conceptualizations of organic food and production systems. Thus a sub theme is how and to what extend different technologies by different stakeholders are considered organic.

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Meat in context: on the relation between perceptions and contexts

    Korzen, S. M. & Lassen, J. 2010 In : Appetite. 54, 2, p. 274-281 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  2. Published

    After dolly - public perception of animal biotechnology

    Lassen, J. & Sandøe, P. 2002 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

  3. Published

    Happy pigs are dirty!: conflicting perspectives on animal welfare

    Lassen, J., Sandøe, P. & Forkman, B. 2006 In : Livestock Science. 103, 3, p. 221-230 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  4. Published

    Cisgenic crops: more natural, more acceptable

    Mielby, H. O. & Lassen, J. 2009 Ethical futures: bioscience and food horizons. Millar, K., West, P. H. & Nerlich, B. (eds.). Wageningen Academic Publishers, p. 261-264 4 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedings

  5. Published

    Genetic technologies meet the public: the discourses of concern

    Lassen, J. & Jamison, A. 2006 In : Science, Technology & Human Values. 31, 1, p. 8-28 21 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  6. Published

    GM plants, farmers and the public: a harmonious relation?

    Lassen, J. & Sandøe, P. 2009 In : Sociologia Ruralis. 49, 3, p. 258-272 15 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  7. Published

    Biotechnology and food policy, governance

    Lassen, J. 2013 Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics. Thompson, P. B. & Kaplan, D. M. (eds.). Springer, 7 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEncyclopedia chapter

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