Does the revolution start from what we eat?
(University of Milan-Bicocca)
Paper short abstract:
Our meals have unattended consequences: just thinking about the implications of chosing a meal instead of another affecting the lives of people and the environment. In this frame, the diffusion of veganism has drawn attention for an analysis of its roots and to test the consequences on people’s lives.
Paper long abstract:
Biography, culture, food, practices and societies are interdependent aspects of a network of relationships. Choiches about food are crucial in shaping a community and contribute in determining the nature of a society, habits and actor's identity. The spread of veganism demands to be subjected to a critical analysis. Differently from what happens in developing countries, where vast part of the population is vegetarian because of poverty, in industrial societies veganism has been voluntarily adopted also because of material conditions: industrialized and intensive agriculture, global market, capitalism. With the advent of modernity, the pluralisation of eating styles and diets multiplies this, allowing for the exploration and birth of alternative identities and lifestyles. For most people, to become vegan is a real "way of life". The connection between veganism and its repercussions on the values and habits of the individuals appears evident: activism, political participation, critical consumption, selfproduction, the preference for organic agriculture are all practical tools by means of which social actors make themselves aware and responsible. Through their decisions, they can actively condition the internal dynamics of society and become drivers of change. Exploring a minority eating practice is necessary to reflect on the role human beings have taken in this world, but also to reason on the environmental, ethical and political dimensions. This new lifestyle integrates modernity but it also aims at refounding it on different principles. A rethinking process of the relation between society and the natural environment and between humans and nonhumans seems to be in progress.
Ecosystem as concept, legacy, and (sustainable) futures