Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.appet.2024.107269
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Moral disengagement in the media discourses on meat and dairy production systems
Author Schüßler, C.; Nicolai, S.; Stoll-Kleemann, S.; Bartkowski, B.
Source Titel Appetite
Year 2024
Department OEKON
Volume 196
Page From art. 107269
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords Moral disengagement; Cognitive dissonance; Media discourses; Agri-food systems; Meat and dairy production; Responsibility shifting
Abstract Meat and dairy production and consumption are the subject of ongoing public debates that touch on various sustainability issues such as biodiversity loss, climate change, animal welfare, and social and health aspects. Despite extensive discussions specifically relating to the environmental impacts of livestock farming in conjunction with animal welfare aspects, there have been no substantial changes in production or consumption patterns. Moreover, the focus of extant research is usually on consumers' responses to public concerns around livestock production. In this study, we shed light on the discrepancy between the normative discourse and action of relevant value chain actors with the help of Bandura's theory of moral disengagement, which allows us to identify mechanisms that contribute to the perpetuation of unsustainable production and consumption patterns. In particular, we focus on the shifting of responsibility between actors in the normatively charged field of sustainable livestock production. We collected 109 media interviews on meat and dairy production and consumption from the years 2020–2022, including interviews with actors from agriculture, processing industries, and food retail. Using qualitative content analysis, we investigated the role of moral disengagement in the media discourse on meat and dairy production and explored differences between actors in terms of moral disengagement. We found that shifting of responsibility shows a quasi-circular dynamic of being shifted from all actors to all, in our case most frequently to consumers, politics, and (diffuse) economic forces. In addition, our analysis showed the use of social justifications, beneficial comparisons, and euphemistic labelling to be common mechanisms of moral disengagement, constituting a collective problem within agri-food systems.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Schüßler, C., Nicolai, S., Stoll-Kleemann, S., Bartkowski, B. (2024):
Moral disengagement in the media discourses on meat and dairy production systems
Appetite 196 , art. 107269 10.1016/j.appet.2024.107269