Article Information


Anna Barbaruk (
North-Eastern State University, Magadan, Russia

Citation: Barbaruk A.V. (2017) «Telo kak instrument soznaniya»: povsednevnaya kontseptualizatsiya telesnykh praktik v vegetarianstve “The Body as an Instrument of Consciousness”: the Conceptualization of Everyday Bodily Practices in Vegetarianism]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], 20(1): 22–36 (in Russian).

Abstract. The article deals with the problem of constructing representations of the body in vegetarian discourse. Corporeality is not only an objectively existing physical instrument of social interactions, but it is also a sociocultural construct. Vegetarianism as an alternative, nontraditional style of food consumption influences the formation of ideas about oneself and others, and transmits moral values, norms, rules of behavior, which create the conditions for the formation of social identity, and, in particular, the notions of one’s own body. Th e article discusses the understanding of one’s own body through three components of vegetarian discourse: the influence of plant foods on physical health, the “ethics” of the body and the norms regulating bodily practices. Vegetarians legitimize their eating style with various arguments, referring to scientific discoveries, religious dogmas or ethical principles. The body in vegetarianism is dual, on the one hand, it is viewed from the standpoint of human anatomy and physiology on the basis of natural scientific discourse. On the other hand, the materiality of the body itself is questioned. The body must exist in a regime of constant self-discipline, austerity. Its purpose is to be a tool for realizing the spiritual aspirations of the person, his or her psychic energy. In the vegetarian discourse the human being is often reduced to what he or she eats. The social presentation of a vegetarian is therefore largely related to bodily practices and, in particular, to nutrition practices. What kind of food to eat, what places to visit, how to handle the problem of cruel treatment of animals, what books to read, etc. — all these choices make up a variety of ways of positioning vegetarians in social space.

Keywords: sociology of food, vegetarianism, discourse, nutrition style, bodily practices, social identity

Andreyev I.L., Nazarova L.N. (2016) Sotsiologiya zhizni: dinamika yedy: ot pishchevykh tsepey k gumanisticheskoy biopolitike [Sociology of life: the dynamics of food: from food chains to humanistic biopolitics]. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological research], 7: 101-109 (in Russian)

Arce A., Marsden T. (1993) The social construction of international food: a new research agenda. Economic Geography., 69(3): 293-311

Bourdieu P. (2005) Razlicheniya. Sotsialnaya kritika suzhdeniya [Distinction]. Ekonomicheskaya sotsiologiya [Economic sociology], 6(3): 25-48 (in Russian)

Coveney J. (2014) Food. London and New York: Routledge

Douglas M. (2000) Chistota i opasnost: Analiz predstavleniy ob oskvernenii i tabu [Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Cocepts of Pollution and Taboo]. M.: KANON-press-TS, Kuchkovo pole, (in Russian)

Fjellström Ch. (2009) Food’s cultural system of knowledge - meals as a cultural and social arena. In: Food in Contemporary Society. P. Palojoki (ed.). Helsinki: Yliopistopaino

Freud S. (2006) Totem i tabu [Totem and Taboo]. SPb.: Azbuka klassika (in Russian)

Ganskau Ye.YU., Minina V.N., Semenova G.I., Gronov YU.Ye. (2014) Povsednevnyye praktiki pitaniya zhiteley Sankt-Peterburga i Leningradskoy oblasti [Daily nutrition practices for residents of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region]. Zhurnal sotsiologii i sotsialnoy antropologii [The Journal of Sociology and Social Anthropology], XVII(1): 41-58 (in Russian)

Haworth-Hoeppner S. (2000) The critical shapes of body image: the role of culture and family in the production of eating disorders. Journal of marriage and family, 62(1): 212-227

Henneberry S., Piewthongngam K., Qiang H. (1999) Consumer food safety concerns and fresh produce consumption. Journal of agricultural and resource economics, 24(1): 98-113

Karpova D.N. (2015) Yeda kak kontrkul'tura i dvizheniye antikapitalizma [Food as a counterculture and the movement of anti-capitalism]. Vestnik Instituta sotsiologii [Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology], 3(14): 65-73 (in Russian)

Kravchenko S.A. (2015) Paradoksy «strely vremeni»: rozhdeniye ne-yedy [Paradoxes of the "arrow of time": the birth of non-eating]. Vestnik Instituta sotsiologii [Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology], 3(14): 13-29 (in Russian)

Lovejoy M. (2001) Disturbances in the social body: differences in Body Image and Eating Problems among African American and White Women. Gender and Society, 15(2): 239-261

Martinez-Gonzalez M.A., Holgado B., Gibney M., Kearney J., Martinez J.A. (2000) Definitions of healthy eating in Spain as compared to other European Member States. European Journal of Epidemiology, 16(6): 557-564

Minako M. (1978) Social constrains in eating patterns among the obese and overweight. Social Problems, 25(4): 453-460

Noskova A.V. (2015) Pitaniye kak obyekt sotsiologii i marker sotsialnogo neravenstva [Nutrition as an object of sociology and a marker of social inequality]. Vestnik Instituta sotsiologii [Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology], 3(14): 49-64 (in Russian)

O’Hara S., Vienna S. (2001) Global food markets and their local alternatives: a socio-ecological economic perspective. Population and environment, 22(6): 533-554

Raymond L.В., Goodman М. (2004) Consuming narratives: the political ecology of «alternative» consumption. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, 29(3): 344-366

Simmel G. (2010) Sotsiologiya trapezy [Sociology of the meal]. Sotsiologiya, teoriya, marketing [Sociology, theory, marketing], 4: 187-192 (in Russian)

Sokhan I.P. (2014) Imperativ khudogo tela v sovremennom massovom obshchestve i aktualnyye gastronomicheskiye strategii [The imperative of a lean body in modern mass society and topical gastronomic strategies]. XIV Aprelskaya mezhdunarodnaya nauchnaya konferentsiya po problemam razvitiya ekonomiki i obshchestva: v 4-kh knigakh [XIV April International Scientific Conference on the problems of economic development and society: in 4 books]. Kniga 4. Pod red. Ye. G. Yasina. M.: Izdatelskiy dom NIU VSHE: 554-564 (in Russian)

Sorokin P.A. (2003) Golod kak faktor. Vliyaniye goloda na povedeniye lyudey, sotsialnuyu organizatsiyu i obshchestvennuyu zhizn [Hunger as a factor. [The effect of hunger on people's behavior, social organization and social life]. M.: Academia (in Russian)

Veselov Yu.V. (2015) Povsednevnyye praktiki pitaniya [Daily eating practices]. Sotsiologicheskiye issledovaniya [Sociological research], 1: 95-104 (in Russian)

Zarubina N.N. (2015) Asketicheskiye, distsiplinarnyye i samoogranichitelnyye praktiki kak faktor formirovaniya strategiy pitaniya v sovremennoy Rossii [Ascetic, disciplinary and self-limiting practices as a factor in the formation of nutrition strategies in modern Russia]. Vestnik Instituta sotsiologii [Bulletin of the Institute of Sociology], 3(14): 30-48 (in Russian)