Document Type

Honors Paper


Ana Campos-Holland

Publication Date



The relationship between meat production/consumption and the permeable boundary of nature-society has been largely ignored. Because meat consumption and production is at the crossroads of environmental sociology, sociology of food, and sociology of animal ethics, elements of each field are necessary to fully understand the closely intertwined concepts of nature and meat. By drawing from each of these sub-areas and using Brewster and Bell’s (2009) analytic ‘Goffmanian’ frames, this study explores how natural (unguided) and social (human controlled) frames of meat are used to separate modern society from nature. Semi-structured interviews (n=20), including image elicitation, were conducted with individuals at different locations relative to food production. These interviews were analyzed using a grounded thematic analysis. Participants viewed meat production as social and human controlled. Because meat consumption can be separated from production through socio-spatial and socio-psychological distancing, participants oscillated between framing meat-eating as natural and social. This framing was complicated by the conflicting perceptions of killing agricultural animals through both a natural and social frame. Conflicting frames compounded by socio-spatial and socio-psychological distancing left participants feeling disconnected to an ambiguous nature. Participants attempted to reconnect to nature by closing the socio-psychological and socio-spatial distance from meat production. However, the differing methods used to close this distance only re-affirmed the ambiguity of nature.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.