Death And Disgust: A Review Of Italian Vegetarians
Italy is one of the countries in the world that is most known for its food, and the role that food plays in the culture. Though a animal-based diet dominates Italy, vegetarianism is becoming increasingly popular. As in other countries, Italian veg*ns make their choices for a variety of reasons, including health, ethics, environment, and other cultural factors. While such choices may seem "eccentric" or extreme, they are more commonplace now than ever.
This paper sought to explore the motivations of veg*ns in Italy, with a specific focus on "whether vegetarianism is symbolically mediated by disgust and whether this emotion ostensibly prevents us from being afraid of death." Though this is a philosophical and somewhat esoteric aim, more practically, the authors say that "vegetarianism may be considered an antispecist practice" and that "the ecological perspective assumed by vegetarians and vegans, therefore, represents the integration of the health needs of both the environment and individuals." Tying all of this together, according to the researchers, is a loose sense of spirituality and a desire to save both animals and humans from death.
The researchers conducted open-ended interviews with 22 participants from both religious and health organizations, and their analysis highlighted three dominant themes: (a) death as basis of disgust; (b) life as quality of environment; (c) spirituality of life. Participants generally articulated this first aspect through the view that "animals should not be mistreated since their sacrifice is also deleterious to human health." The second aspect works toward "the construction of an ecological health," and links concerns about the environment, ethics, and lifestyle into one opposition against the fact that "humans are considered as destructively affecting life on the planet." The third aspect has often been part of an evolution. The researchers note that health often triggered people's choices "but, once adopted, eliminating meat from the diet became an aim in itself, a vector of ideological and philosophical commitment extending beyond health."
The study is worth reading in full so that advocates can explore the various issues it raises. The researchers note that their findings seem to show that "an important element of the vegetarian trajectory is the incorporation into respondents' practices and beliefs of a number of broader environmental commitments." Though it is not immediately clear if this is restricted to the Italian context, it is worth exploring regardless.
November 24, 2017 - by Faunalytics
Testoni, I., Ghellar, T., Rodelli, M., De Cataldoa, L., & Zamperini, A. (2017). Representations of Death Among Italian Vegetarians: An Ethnographic Research on Environment, Disgust and Transcendence. Europe’s Journal Of Psychology, 13(3). 378-395.