It is widely acknowledged that to tackle global climate change, meat consumption needs to be reduced substantially, especially in wealthy nations, such as Denmark. A number of studies inspired by theories of practice have investigated various aspects of food practices and meat consumption, including their trajectories and material basis. However, the role of social interactions in organising food practitioners’ performances is still somewhat under-investigated. This article seeks to make up for this by showing some of the ways food practices are contingent on social interactions between practitioners.
The article investigates how the organisation of the performances of food practitioners are produced and reproduced through social interactions with other practitioners and what this means for the role of meat and animal products. This is done through an analysis of data from 27 interviews with young Danes who have reduced or are in the process of reducing their meat consumption and four network focus groups. The analysis shows how procedures, engagements and understandings tied to meat are established and contested through social interactions. This is used to show how differences in arrangements of social encounters provide very different terms for a construction of a mainly plant-based diet as normal. Finally, in the discussion, I argue that arrangements of social encounters can, in a similar way to material arrangements, induce and prefigure certain types of performances, and I discuss the implications of the results for intervention efforts aimed at reducing meat consumption.
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