School Research Seminar: From Purity Politics to Plant-Based Capitalism

We are delighted to welcome Dr Eva Haifa Giraud of the University of Sheffield to deliver the School Research Seminar.

Event abstract

Veganism has undergone dramatic changes in cultural imaginaries over the past decade. From an ethical practice that was framed as marginal or radical, veganism’s upsurge in popularity has seen it become a marketing niche: as illustrated by the array of vegan products in fast food outlets ranging from McDonald’s to Subway.  Against the backdrop of veganism’s transformation, this talk traces two narratives about vegan practice that have circulated in academia and popular culture, respectively. Firstly, I reflect on veganism’s framing as ‘purity politics’ in academic contexts and suggest that revisiting vegan activism offers a productive means of complicating this framing. I then offer further complications, by examining how vegan activism has itself had to confront tensions arising from veganism’s popularization. Although vegan consumerism has important democratizing potentials, the rise of ‘plant-based capitalism’ has troubled some of the core ethical aspirations associated with veganism, particularly in relation to its intersection with other social justice issues. I close the paper by fleshing out some of the key attributes of plant-based capitalism, to reflect on the provocations they pose for veganism – and food justice more broadly – moving forward.    

Speaker biography

Eva Haifa Giraud is a senior lecturer in Digital Media & Society at Sheffield University, whose research focuses on the (sometimes fraught) relationship between theoretical work focused on relationality and entanglement, and activist practice. Her publications include What Comes After Entanglement? Activism, anthropocentrism and an ethics of exclusion (Duke University Press), Veganism: Politics, Practice, and Theory (Bloomsbury Academic) and articles in journals such as Theory, Culture & Society, New Media & Society and Social Studies of Science. 

Event joining details

The event will be held on Zoom, access the meeting via the link and joining details below:

Meeting ID: 864 6392 7991
Passcode: M1T*2c

No booking required.


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