The emergence of the ecological critique and perhaps the start of a social transformation: The emergence of the ecological critique and perhaps the start of a social transformation

Charlotte Tørnes & Hosnia Latifa Boukaddid

Student thesis: Master thesis


We are currently living in times characterized by an increasing fear concerning our future climate. In recent years we have witnessed an increasing debate about the production and consumption of animal products and its vast impact on climate changes. As a result a growing number of Danes have reduced their consumption of animal products, in particular meat products. The consumption of meat has also been the focus point of several documentaries on Netflix that criticize our consumption, as it causes damage to our climate, health and animals. In this thesis we seek to examine how Netflix documentaries, which appear on a commercial platform, can be understood as an enlightening project, and what criticism the documentaries represent.
The thesis is based on an analysis of six Netflix documentaries on the subject animal food production and its negative consequences on climate and health. We apply the theoretical framework by Bill Nichols, to analyse the means documentaries use to reach their viewers. In the second part of our analysis, we analyse the critique expressed in the documentaries. Here we use the theory: “The New Spirit of Capitalism” by Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello.
The findings of the study shows, that the documentaries uses a lot of means, that are unique to this genre and are likely to reach many viewers. The four critiques from Boltanski and Chiapello, the artistic critique, the social critique, the conservative critique and the ecological critique can all be identified in the documentaries. In addition to the four critique the documentaries identifies a fifth critique that aims the lack of freedom of expression.
This master thesis concludes that the documentaries represent what Boltanski and Chiapello has identified as four types of critique. Not only does the four types of criticism appear in the six documentaries, they also approach each other in a common critique which is aimed at animal products. A strong and rooted criticism can lead to the formulation of a new spirit of capitalism and thus a transformative change of our society. The ecological critique has in particular gained acceptance in recent year and has become so strong, that we might be entering a new spirit of capitalism - a fourth, sustainable spirit.

Educations, (Bachelor/Graduate Programme) Graduate
Publication date30 Sep 2006
Number of pages111
SupervisorsRasmus Willig