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Confucius Institute Talk: Changing Food Practices in Urban China

22 Mar 2018

Profesor Alison Brown discusses the global and environmental impact of meat provision in China

Come along to this interesting talk on at the Confusius Institute on Monday 26 March from 1:00pm to 2:00pm.

The rapid increase in meat consumption amongst the urban Chinese middle classes is problematised across the international research and policy literatures as a key contributor to global environmental problems. 

In this presentation Alison will explore the dynamics of meat provision and consumption in everyday life in Beijing and Shanghai, reflecting upon experiences of eating meat within shifting systems of food provision: 

  • the changing role of meat associated with socialising, celebrating and nurturing; and emerging hybridities of dietary and health knowledges – alongside food safety concerns – that are being leveraged to justify meat reduction practices.
  • Meat reduction, however, remains difficult to achieve particularly when eating amongst family or eating out. Our findings reflect an already shifting relationship between the Chinese middle classes and their consumption of meat. 
  • This finding problematises the assumption that middle class consumption will continue to ris  e, indefinitely, alongside increasing societal wealth and urbanisation. 
  • Everyday life dynamics including social and cultural conventions around family, sociality and health are shown to both support and constrain emergent food transitions in the Chinese context.

This presentation is the result of a collaboration between the University of Manchester (Alison Browne –Geography/SCI; Josephine Mylan – Alliance Manchester Business School/SCI) and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Zhu Di – Institute of Sociology).

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