Contested sustainability discourses as lived experience
Many of the sustainability discourses that circulate in academic and popular media pay insufficient attention to how socio-environmental controversies deeply perplex ordinary consumers. In this chapter, I use narrative analysis to examine the contested sustainability discourses that surround meat consumption in the life stories of three focus group participants: Mark, a 32 year old single black man who attends community college and does seasonal subcontracting work; Gabby, an 18 year old single white woman and a full time university student; and Patty, a 53 year old divorced white woman who does home healthcare work while stocking shelves part-time at a national retailer. Their narratives collectively illuminate the key discourses which have shaped normative understandings about meat throughout American history: scarcity, abundance, comfort, guilt, pride, tradition, and apprehension. The purpose of this chapter is to unpack these tensions and unravel the different threads which tug on the hearts, minds, and stomachs of modern consumers.