NZCHAS - Meat Culture

Meat Culture and Vegetarian Subcultures

In 1990 American scholar Carol J. Adams argued in her landmark book The Sexual Politics of Meat that it was through processes such as intensive farming and hidden slaughter, as well as through our use of terms that function to conceal the true nature of meat (for example, we refer to flesh from pigs as pork or ham (not pig), chicken meat becomes nuggets, and baby calves become veal) that we are afforded easier denial of the once active and feeling creatures whose lives have been terminated for culinary purposes. In other words, the cultural construction of meat and its methods of production enable various kinds of distancing from the actual animal from whom flesh is taken, obscuring the origins of meat and thereby facilitating its everyday use as food.

The projects and publications associated with this ‘research theme’ within the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies ask questions about ethical consumption and the dominance of meat culture in western societies (and particularly in Aotearoa New Zealand), the gendered nature of carnivory and vegetarianism, animal welfare and farming practices, and the modes of resistance to agriculture and animal exploitation emerging in our increasingly digitalized world.

Projects completed so far:

Meat Culture

Associate Professor Annie Potts (of the Departments of English and Cultural Studies and the New Zealand Centre for Human-Animal Studies) has edited a new book just published as part of Brill's highly-respected Human Animal Studies series. Entitled Meat Culture, the volume brings together new essays that examine the place and meanings of meat in Western societies. The first chapter, by Annie herself, introduces and conceptualises the idea of ‘meat culture’ within a wide historical and global context. Subsequent chapters, by thirteen other scholars from around the world, deal with topics as varied as hamburger ad campaigns, the European horsemeat scandal, live export, factory farming, horror fiction, environmentalism, nationalism, family life, xenophobia, gender, and popular culture..... [read more]


Philip Armstrong (2016). Sheep. London: Reaktion.

Kirsty Dunn, MA thesis in English. ‘Inherit the World, Devour the Earth: Representations of Western Meat Production and Consumption in the Contemporary Fiction. University of Canterbury, 2015.

Annie Potts and Jovian Parry (2014). Too Sexy for Your Meat: Vegan Sexuality and the Intimate Rejection of Carnism. In J. Sorenson (Ed.), Thinking the Unthinkable: New Readings in Critical Animal Studies. Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc.

Alison Loveridge (2013) Changes in animal welfare views in New Zealand: Responding to global change. Society & Animals 21(4): 325-340.

Annie Potts & Philip Armstrong (2013). Picturing Cruelty: Animal Advocacy and Visual Culture. In F. Probyn-Rapsey & J. Johnston (Eds.), Animal Death. University of Sydney.

Annie Potts (2012). Chicken. London: Reaktion.

Philip Armstrong (2011) Meat or Vegetables? New Zealand's Literary Sheep and Guthrie-Smith's Tutira. Journal of New Zealand Literature 29: 12-31.

Alison Loveridge (2011) Farm Practices and Animal Welfare. New Zealand Sociology 26(1): 89-109.

Philip Armstrong (2010) Moa Citings. Journal of Commonwealth Literature45(3): 325-339.

Annie Potts & Jovian Parry (2010). Vegan Sexuality: Challenging Heteronormative Masculinity through Meat-free Sex. Feminism & Psychology 20.1: 53-72.

Annie Potts (Ed) (2010). Feminism, Psychology and Nonhuman Animals. Special Issue of Feminism & Psychology, 20(3), August.

Annie Potts (2010). Introduction: Combating speciesism in psychology and feminism. Feminism & Psychology, 20(3): 291-301.

Jovian Parry, 2010, The New Visibility of Slaughter in Popular Gastronomy. MA Thesis, Cultural Studies. University of Canterbury

Alison Loveridge. (2009) Farm children's understanding of animals in changing times: Autobiographies and farming culture. Australian Zoologist 35(1): 28-38. (Journal Articles)

Jovian Parry (2009). Oryx and Crake and the New Nostalgia for Meat. Society & Animals 17.2: 241-56.

Annie Potts & Mandala White (2008). New Zealand Vegetarians: At Odds with their Nation. Society & Animals 16.4: 336-353.

Annie Potts (2008). Exploring Vegansexuality: An Embodied Ethics of Intimacy. Ethos: The Practical Ethics Blog. Http:// Posted March 9 2008.

Philip Armstrong (2007). Farming images: Animal Rights and Agribusiness in the Field of Vision. In P. Armstrong and L. Simmons (ed.). Knowing Animals. Boston and Leiden: Brill, 2007, 105-108.

Annie Potts & Mandala White (2007). Cruelty-Free Consumption in New Zealand: A National Report on the Perspectives and Experiences of Vegetarians and Other Ethical Consumers. Christchurch: NZCHAS.

Philip Armstrong (2006). Sympathy. Satya, July 2006.

Philip Armstrong & Annie Potts (2004). Serving the Wild. In A. Smith and L. Wevers (ed.), On Display: New Essays in Cultural Tourism. Wellington , University of Victoria Press: 15-40.

Henrietta Mondry (2003). What's in an “Incubator Chicken”? Gleb Uspensky on Hens, Eggs and the Mystery of Generation. Slavic and East European Journal 47: 2: 211-226.

Alison Loveridge & Carolyn Morris (1998). "Participation and innovation on South Canterbury farms". Australasian Food and Farming in a Globalised Economy: Recent Developments and Future Prospects. Eds David Burch, Geoffrey Lawrence, Roy E. Rickson and Jasper Goss. Monash Publications in Geography. Number 50.

Carolyn Morris, Alison Loveridge & JR Fairweather (1995). Understanding why farmers change their farming practices: The role of orienting principles in technology transfer. Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit Research Report No 232, 131p