Meat: historicizing an icon through marketplace contestations

Aya Aboelenien, Zeynep Arsel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (SciVal)
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Meat is both a loved and hated everyday consumption object across cultures and has become an icon throughout history. This article traces meat’s trajectory in the Global North and identifies four periods that contribute to its iconicity. Meat’s iconic status has been shaped by discourses on health, morality, ecology, class, science, and gender. It has been central to colonialism, wars, the Industrial Revolution, and scientific developments. We pinpoint the role of marketplace actors – from butchers to slaughterhouses to political institutions to corporations and scientists – in making meat a contested object and a marketplace icon. We conclude the article with a call for more research outside the Global North. We also invite researchers and policymakers to consider existing scholarly work that acknowledges a view of nature that is grounded in interspecies reciprocity, which can resolve enduring moral tensions that rely on rigid binary oppositions between humans and animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-594
Number of pages14
JournalConsumption, Markets and Culture
Issue number6
Early online date14 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2022

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