Intergenerational Knot: eating meat in contexts of inequality

The Anthropocene is not only a period of rapid environmental transformation but also a prolific moment of values changes. While the temporality dimensions of this phenomenon are a challenge to social sciences inquiry, it also presents a great opportunity for new methodologies to emerge. The intergenerational knot can be a useful methodological frame for understanding social change through the discussion of different values across different generations because, at the same time, it evidences differences and disagreement; it also carries the potential of mutually influencing and multiplying new food consumption practices. The present article focuses on intergenerational discussions through the case study of meat consumption. The young generation analyzed usually prioritizes environmental impact when choosing what to eat, however, other factors exert more significant influence on the family food consumption, such as their experiences of food deprivation, their views of what a “better life” consists, and their experience of social mobility. Therefore, first-hand ethnographic data was collected from university students who negotiated between personal values and family narratives around their household meat consumption in Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil. The intergenerational knot becomes a useful methodological frame to understand values change in social and environmental transformation processes in an inclusive way.