Food marketing targeting children: Unveiling the ethical perspectives in the discourse on self-regulation

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When it comes to food marketing, children are one of the major targets. Regulatory actions can play a strategic role in health protection. The objective of this research was to characterize the ethical perspective in the discourse against state regulatory actions on food marketing directed at children, aiming to understand the context of the discourse’s production and how it creates meaning. The methodology adopted was qualitative, with documentary analysis and use of concepts and procedures from Discourse Analysis. The work of Hans Jonas, specifically his Responsibility Principle, and Garrafa and Port’s Intervention Bioethics oriented the analysis. The self-regulation discourse analysis showed an ethical perspective in which relations of consumption predominate over the children´s vulnerability. The rhetorical excess is constant, as well as the use of resources like naturalization, untruthfulness, ideological dissimulation and euphemism. An erasure of social conflicts takes place, and an ahistorical perspective is present. The discourse does not align with Jonas´ Responsibility Principle, nor those of Intervention Bioethics. Lastly, the ethical perspective of the discourse represents a double paradox, because it is a business discourse that hides its competitive roots and metamorphoses into an ethical one.




Silva, D. A. C. da, Cunha, A. C. R. da, Cunha, T. R. da, & Rosaneli, C. F. (2017). Food marketing targeting children: Unveiling the ethical perspectives in the discourse on self-regulation. Ciencia e Saude Coletiva, 22(7), 2187–2196.

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