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Searching for the “politics of the possible” in flexitarianism

Morris, Carol; Kelsey, Sarah; Harper, Lauren-Rose

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Sarah Kelsey

Lauren-Rose Harper


The paper builds on recent flexitarianism scholarship by approaching this heterogeneous dietary category as a socio-cultural and political economic, rather than just a psychological phenomenon. It does this by drawing on Edmund Harris’s conceptualization of alternative food provisioning activities and subject-making as a “politics of the possible.” The paper addresses the following questions: does flexitarianism and the making of flexitarian subjectivities represent a “politics of the possible” and if so how; what are the limits of these politics and how might these limits be overcome? Empirically, the paper undertakes a qualitative analysis of UK national print news media coverage of flexitarianism and semi-structured interviews with self-identified flexitarians. Data from these two sources are interwoven in the discussion of themes that provide some evidence in support of flexitarianism as a politics of the possible, but which also draw attention to the limits of these politics. The paper concludes that only by addressing these limits can a full and critical assessment be made of flexitarianism’s contribution to a food system less dependent on animal-based foods.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 23, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 22, 2023
Publication Date Feb 22, 2023
Deposit Date Jan 26, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 22, 2023
Journal Food, Culture and Society
Print ISSN 1552-8014
Electronic ISSN 1751-7443
Publisher Informa UK Limited
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Article Number 2175993
Keywords Flexitarianism; flexitarian; politics of the possible; dietary subject-making; United Kingdom
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Food, Culture and Society on 22 Feb 2023, available at:


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