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Oryx and Crake and the New Nostalgia for Meat

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Recent years have seen the development of a new trend in gastronomic discourse toward acknowledging and even valorizing the role of animal slaughter in meat production. This development problematizes some of the ideas of influential theorists of meat such as Fiddes (1990) and Adams (1991): namely, that the animal in (post)modernity has been rendered invisible in the process of meat production and consumption (Adams, 1991), and that meat itself is a commodity with a declining reputation (Fiddes, 1990). This paper analyzes the role of nostalgia in this trend toward do-it-yourself (or at least witness-it-yourself) slaughter, and takes these developments in cultural tastes and feelings as a context within which to analyze the special significance of meat in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake. In identifying this burgeoning nostalgia for meat and contextualizing it within a risk-reflexive, consumer-driven, dystopian near-future society of the author's own devising, Oryx and Crake foregrounds and illuminates these real-world developments in the meanings of meat.

Affiliations: 1: University of Canterbury


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