Tag Archives: Johan Fischer

Johan Fischer: Veg or non-veg? On fieldwork and food in India

Reporting from an ongoing fieldwork in Hyderabad, India, the central topic of this piece is the ways in which the vegetarian and the nonvegetarian are understood, practiced, and contested in contemporary India. I argue that “vegetarianism,” especially when seen to be inseparable from Hinduism and the caste system, can fruitfully be unpacked when explored empirically vis-à-vis the nonvegetarian. What is more, I show that context matters when exploring the vegetarian and nonvegetarian in the interfaces between state/politics, markets, and consumers in Hyderabad. My preliminary findings suggest that the relationship between the vegetarian and nonvegetarian is being redefined in contemporary India: the long-held idea that the more individuals and social groups follow a vegetarian lifestyle the higher social status they enjoy is breaking down. What is more, vegetarianism and meat-eating are increasingly individual lifestyle choices rather than determined by religious orthodoxy.

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