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Klein, Jakob A. (2016) 'Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurants and the Changing Meanings of Meat in Urban China.' Ethnos, 82 (2). pp. 252-276.

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This article charts the changing meanings of meat in contemporary urban China and explores the role played by Buddhist vegetarian restaurants in shaping these changes. In Kunming, meat has long been a sign of prosperity and status. Its accessibility marked the successes of the economic reforms. Yet Kunmingers were increasingly concerned about excessive meat consumption and about the safety and quality of the meat supply. Buddhist vegetarian restaurants provided spaces where people could share meat-free meals and discuss and develop their concerns about meat-eating. While similar to and influenced by secular, Western vegetarianisms, the central role of Buddhism was reflected in discourses on karmic retribution for taking life and in a non-confrontational approach that sought to accommodate these discourses with the importance of meat in Chinese social life. Finally, the vegetarian restaurants spoke to middle-class projects of self-cultivation, and by doing so potentially challenged associations between meat-eating and social status.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: China, Buddhism, vegetarianism, meat, restaurants
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology > Food Studies Centre
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ISSN: 00141844
Copyright Statement: © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ethnos, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2016 12:29

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