Eating E.T.: Carnism and Speciesism


This article takes as its point of departure an event in which a plant-based version of the space alien, the Extra-Terrestrial (‘E.T.’), from the science fiction film bearing its name, was barbecued and served as a meal to participants at a conference. The soy dish produced different reactions: some laughed, while others seemed appalled. These different sentiments provide the basis for a broad green cultural criminology analysis of the traditions of meat-eating, tracing its role in human history and in the barbecue. The purpose of this is to explore why humans treat different categories of animals so differently. To understand the reactions the meal produced, the article addresses two contrasting aspects of the human–non-human animal relationship—‘carnism’ and ‘pet-keeping’—and contemplates these in relation to the reactions to eating E.T. The goal is to expand on the study of the human–animal relationship, particularly speciesism—understood as ideology and practice that legitimise and produce animal abuse through the analytical concept categorical discriminatory speciesism.

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Published: 2023-08-30
Issue:Online First
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How to Cite
Sollund, R. (2023) “Eating E.T.: Carnism and Speciesism”, International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy. doi: 10.5204/ijcjsd.2837.

Author Biography

Professor Sollund is professor in Criminology at the Department of Criminology and Sociology of Law. She completed her Dr.polit. in 2003 with the thesis Rammer, rom og mobilitet. Innvandrerkvinners arbeidsliv about immigrant women’s occupational mobility.
Professor Sollund has worked as a research fellow at ISF (Institute for Social Research), senior researcher at NOVA (Norwegian social research) and as a project manager on several projects, among others on working conditions of minority women and ethnic minorities' encounters with the police.
Professor Sollund is currently doing qualitative research on the illegal wildlife trade in Norway. The project includes interviews with law enforcement agencies, with offenders, analysis of verdicts for breaches of the CITES regulations, as well as analysis of other relevant documents.