Happy Meat as a Passive Revolution: A Gramscian Analysis of Ethical Meat

Title: Happy Meat as a Passive Revolution: A Gramscian Analysis of Ethical Meat
Authors: Gagnon, Pierre-André
Date: 2019-02-08
Abstract: This thesis starts from the proposition that the ethical meat discourse that is, the discourse recognizing that factory farming is unacceptable while maintaining that it is possible to produce meat in an acceptable way — has not been thoroughly analyzed. Indeed, both the partisans of this idea and the animal rights literature provide oversimplified analyses of this relatively new phenomenon. Considering its explosion in popularity since Michael Pollan published the essay “An Animal's Place” in The New York Times Magazine in 2002, this lack of research is particularly problematic for the animal rights movement as this new discourse directly counters its objectives. As such, this thesis uses Gramsci’s concept of passive revolution to develop a richer analysis of the apparent marginalizing effect that this discourse has on the animal rights movement. More precisely, the thesis addresses the question: “If the emergence of the ethical meat discourse is understood as part of a passive revolution, what can the specific process of passive revolution tell us about the impacts of the ethical meat discourse on the animal rights movement?” It argues that the passive revolution operates on two levels: (1) it depoliticizes the issue of meat consumption by presenting it as irrelevant and reducing it to technical details and (2) it absorbs the moderate elements of the animal rights movement by proposing an attractive alternative. Both of these processes lead to the marginalization of the few animal advocacy organizations still criticizing ethical meat. The analysis is divided in three parts. The first and second analyze respectively the content of the discourse and internal dynamics of the coalition formed around it using Maarten Hajer’s concept of discourse-coalition. Building on this comprehensive understanding of the ethical meat discourse, the actual process of passive revolution is analyzed by looking at the way the meat industry, environmental organizations and animal advocacy organizations engage with it.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/38809
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -