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mackendrickNorah MacKendrick
PhD, University of Toronto. 2011

Department of Sociology
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
26 Nichol Avenue
New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901

Office: Davison Hall, Room 107
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Norah MacKendrick’s research falls within the fields of environmental sociology, gender, consumer studies, food studies, science & technology studies, and medical sociology.

She is the author of Better Safe Than Sorry: How Consumers Navigate Exposure to Everyday Toxics, which identifies the rise of “precautionary consumption” in the United States. She finds that chemical body burdens are the consequence of decades of regulatory failure to properly assess the health consequences of environmental chemicals. The burden of addressing this failure has fallen to women and mothers who feel responsible for protecting their children from exposure to chemicals, and do so through cooking, grocery shopping, and management of the household. The book reveals how discourses of maternal responsibility and consumer empowerment circulate within the campaigns of environmental health advocacy groups, and as well as through the retail landscape for organic foods and ‘green’ products, particularly Whole Foods Market.

In her other research, MacKendrick has examined the intersections of risk, individualization and modern motherhood, as well as the dynamics of non-toxic consumption, “foodscapes” and science activism. Her research has been published in Gender & Society, Sociological Forum, Signs: the Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Journal of Consumer Culture, and Contexts.

As part of a new project, MacKendrick is studying the history of endocrine disruptor theory, and its move into reproductive medicine more specifically. With funding from a Rutgers Research Council Grant, she is interviewing scientists and doctors whose work has alerted the public and policy makers of the dangers of endocrine disruptors. Her project will identify the underlying factors that have led to the international recognition of endocrine disruptor theory as a high priority environmental health risk.