Managing meat and non-meat markets in India

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Abstract

In 2011, the Indian state made it mandatory that all processed food products should bear marks to indicate whether products are vegetarian (green) or non-vegetarian (brown) and with the rise of consumer culture in super/hypermarkets, these logos are ubiquitous on packaging throughout India. While the concept of ahimsa (non-injury to all living creatures) is central to Hinduism and Hindu vegetarianism is explored in a large literature, there is no corresponding exploration of how “green” and “brown” production is managed in contemporary India. What is more, India is a major exporter of meat and water buffalo beef in particular. Based on fieldwork in India, this article explores how manufacturing companies understand and manage “green” and “brown” standards. I argue that while existing studies of vegetarianism overwhelmingly explore micro-social aspects such as the everyday consumption among Hindu groups, “the bigger institutional picture” that frames such consumption, production and regulation is not well understood. This chapter asks and answers this research question: how is modern green/brown production managed in contemporary India? Based on ethnographic fieldwork in South India, the last part of the chapter explores green/brown regulation and management in manufacturing companies in India. I conclude that management based on regulation is essential to green, green/brown and brown production in India.

This chapter asks and answers the following research question: how is modern green/brown production managed in contemporary India? It explores green/brown regulation and management in manufacturing companies in India based on ethnographic fieldwork in South India. The chapter uses “green governmentality,” that is, forms of proceduralism and experts knowledge that reshape attitudes and values and interiorizes forms of (self-)discipline, to capture how the management of meat and non-meat manufacturing in India is framed by much more than standardized food regulation. Altogether, Indian meat markets are still “unstandardized” and this also goes for detailed market statistics that potentially could be provided by embassy of the company’s home country in India. In order for the company to export meat to India, products aimed at the Indian market are separated from “normal production” – particularly because they must bear the mandatory brown marks. The chapter concludes that management based on regulation is essential to green, green/brown and brown production in India.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Anthropology and Business
EditorsRaza Mir, Anne-Laure Fayard
Number of pages19
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherRoutledge
Publication date1 Jul 2020
Pages175-191
Chapter10
ISBN (Print)9781138496422
ISBN (Electronic)9781003052456
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

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