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Societies 2014, 4(4), 623-639; doi:10.3390/soc4040623

Vegan Killjoys at the Table—Contesting Happiness and Negotiating Relationships with Food Practices

Centre for Human Animal Studies (CfHAS) & Department of Social Sciences, Edge Hill University, St. Helens Road, Ormskirk L39 4QP, UK
Received: 4 September 2014 / Revised: 31 October 2014 / Accepted: 3 November 2014 / Published: 5 November 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Alimentary Relations, Animal Relations)
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Abstract

This article reports upon research on vegan transition, which I bring into dialogue with Sara Ahmed’s figure of the killjoy. Ahmed’s work on affect and the feminist killjoy is found to be apt for considering contemporary vegans and their transgression of normative scripts of happiness and commensality in a dominant meat and dairy consuming culture. The decentring of joy and happiness is also found to be integral to the critical deconstructive work of the vegan killjoy. Ahmed’s ideas further complement the frame of practice theory that I draw upon to understand the process of transition especially in the sense of opposing the meanings of dominant practices. Although food and veganism are not commented upon by Ahmed, the vegan subject constitutes, I argue, a potent further example of what she terms an “affect alien” who must willfully struggle against a dominant affective order and community. Drawing upon interviews with 40 vegans based in the UK, I illustrate examples of contestation and negotiation by vegans and those close to them. The article finds in the figure of the killjoy not only a frame by which to partly understand the negotiation of relationships between vegans and non-vegans but also an opportunity for further intersectional labour between veganism and feminism. View Full-Text
Keywords: feminism; food relationships; killjoy; happiness; practice theory; Sara Ahmed; veganism; climate change feminism; food relationships; killjoy; happiness; practice theory; Sara Ahmed; veganism; climate change
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Twine, R. Vegan Killjoys at the Table—Contesting Happiness and Negotiating Relationships with Food Practices. Societies 2014, 4, 623-639.

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