Vegan food geographies and the rise of Big Veganism

Vegan food geographies and the rise of Big Veganism

Alexandra E. Sexton1, Tara Garnett2, and Jamie Lorimer3

1 Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

2 TABLE, School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

3 School of Geography and Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

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Veganism is the subject of an increasingly diverse body of social scientific research, yet it remains relatively understudied in geography. Meanwhile, contemporary cultural commentaries note how veganism has gone mainstream, with critics warning of veganism’s corporate nature – expressed in the rise of what we term ‘Big Veganism’. We argue that food geographers are well placed to examine these trends. We first review vegan studies work beyond geography that examines and critiques the mainstreaming of veganism. We focus on literature that explores multiple contested modes of veganism, veganism as praxis in place and the rise of corporate veganism as useful foundations for geographers to build on, particularly in light of currently unfolding developments in vegan cultures and practice. Taking this work forward, we identify four conceptual traditions from research in food geographies – following foodways, alternative food networks and the cultural and material politics of eating – to develop a ‘vegan food geographies’ programme that aims to advance critical geographic work on veganism and the emerging implications of its contemporary mainstreaming.



Publication details

Sexton, A. E., Garnett, T., & Lorimer, J. (2022). Vegan food geographies and the rise of Big Veganism. Progress in Human Geography, 46(2), 605–628.