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Sociology: Research


Fake meat and its Relations

Fake meat and its Relations
Speaker: Dr Catelijne Coopmans # National University Singapore
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Date and Time
1st Jun 2017 15:30 - 1st Jun 2017 17:00
Seminar Room 1, Chrystal Macmillan Building, George Square, EH8 9LD

The adjective ‘fake’ in everyday speech is typically used for items or people who deceptively pass themselves off as something they’re not. However, there are also fakes that, as it were, wear their fakeness on their sleeve, and even make a virtue out of it. A case in point is fake meat: meat-resembling soy- , wheat-, mushroom- or nut-based products that allow consumers to ‘have it both ways’ by explicitly representing meat and non-meat at the same time. Based on observations, informal interviews and stories about fake meat in multiple countries (particularly in Singapore), this talk explores the ambivalence of fake meat – the way its resembling meat but not being meat is oriented to, valued and/or problematized. Four questions in particular are addressed: (1) How does fake meat support ‘having it both ways’ in eating, especially with others? (2) How does the distinction between form and substance feature in the ethics of eating and religious food offering? (3) As a new generation of fake meat products is perceived to be increasingly close to the real thing, what issues does that raise? (4) What makes fake meat ‘good to eat’ (or not)? We will end by asking what a focus on fakeness can offer existing perspectives on fake meat, and what it can contribute to studies of representation in STS after the ‘turn’ to ontology.

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