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Kelsey D. Meagher


  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of California, Davis, (expected June 2017).
  • M.A., Sociology, University of California, Davis, 2012.
  • B.A., Psychology, University of California, Irvine, 2010.


Curriculum Vitae

Environmental Sociology; Organizations and the Economy; Health and Social Welfare; Food and Agriculture Systems; Political Sociology; Risk and Disasters.

DISSERTATION: Cross-National Differences in Food Safety Governance
Large-scale foodborne illness outbreaks over the past two decades have prompted growing public concerns over food safety. However, responses to these outbreaks have varied substantially across institutional and national contexts. My study seeks to explain institutional and cross-national differences in risk perception and governance in the context of two major E. coli outbreaks in the last decade (California, 2006; and Germany, 2011). I employ mixed methods to explore how growers, regulators, and consumers in the U.S. and Germany defined and pursued food safety following the outbreaks. I am conducting semi-structured interviews with stakeholders in each country and analyzing archival media to examine how the outbreaks and subsequent reforms were understood by different groups during the crisis. Additionally, I am conducting a multilevel analysis of survey data on consumer risk perceptions in order to understand the broader context for food safety governance regimes. My study contributes to contemporary theoretical debates regarding risk society, management practice, and public responses to risk, highlighting the role that governance processes and public expectations play in both consumer health policy formation as well as public debates.

Committee members: Thomas Beamish (chair), Nicole Woolsey Biggart, and Xiaoling Shu.