ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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'Provincialising' Vegetarianism

Putting Indian Food Habits in Their Place

Large-scale survey data are used to question the most public claims about food habits in India. It is found that the extent of overall vegetarianism is much less—and the extent of overall beef-eating much more—than suggested by common claims and stereotypes. The generalised characterisations of “India” are deepened by showing the immense variation of food habits across scale, space, group, class, and gender. Additionally, it is argued that the existence of considerable intra-group variation in almost every social group (caste, religious) makes essentialised group identities based on food practices deeply problematic. Finally, in a social climate where claims about food practices rationalise violence, cultural–political pressures shape reported and actual food habits. Indian food habits do not fit into neatly identifiable boxes.

All views expressed are the authors’ own and should not be attributed to these institutions. The authors wish to thank the anonymous reviewer for their comments.

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Updated On : 1st Feb, 2021
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