Food, Meaning, and the Law: Confessions of a Vegan Semiotician

“For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread”.

(1Co 10:17)


The essay that follows combines several genres along an unconventional path. It departs from the psycho-semiotic analysis of a personal turning point: the author’s ‘conversion’ to veganism. After exposing the rationale for this change in semiotic terms, however, the essay extends its theorization to the social level, inquiring about the intersection between vegan conviction and commensality. In a world where different food ideologies co-occur, converge, conflict, and sometimes clash, what is the role of the law in establishing value priorities and strike a balance among different sociocultural and political trends? The essay concludes with a synthetic definition, in semiotic terms, of the perspective on food, meaning, and law promoted by the author: a vegan liberalism that is tolerant of food pluralism but simultaneously militates for the evolution of culture and society toward the accomplishment of a utopia, that of a world immune from the exploitation of animal suffering.

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    Among the classics of food semiotics and cultural analysis, see [1, 3, 4, 11,12,13]; for an introduction [14].


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Correspondence to Massimo Leone.

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Leone, M. Food, Meaning, and the Law: Confessions of a Vegan Semiotician. Int J Semiot Law 31, 637–658 (2018).

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  • Food
  • Law
  • Semiotics
  • Veganism
  • Liberalism