Milk, Modernity and the Making of the Human

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9780415817141: Milk, Modernity and the Making of the Human
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This book undertakes a critique of the pervasive notion that human beings are separate from and elevated above the nonhuman world and explores its role in the constitution of modernity.

The book presents a socio-material analysis of the British milk industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It traces the dramatic development of the milk trade from a cottage industry into a modernised and integrated system of production and distribution, examining the social, economic and political factors underpinning this transformation, and also highlighting the important roles played by various nonhumans, such as microbes, refrigeration technologies, diseases, and even cows themselves. Milk as a substance posed deep social and material problems for modernity, being hard to transport and keep fresh as well as a highly fertile environment for the growth of bacteria and the transmission of diseases such as tuberculosis from cows to humans. Milk, Modernity and the Making of the Human demonstrates how the resulting insecurities and dilemmas posed a threat to the nature/culture divide as milk consumption grew along with urbanization, and had therefore to be managed by emergent forms of scientific and sanitary knowledge and expertise.

Milk, Modernity and the Making of the Human is an ideal volume for any researcher interested in the hybrid socio-material, economic and political factors underpinning the transformation of the milk industry.

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From the Publisher:

Presents the history of milk as a fascinating story of politics, culture, science and everyday life in late 19th and early 20th century Britain.

Uses detailed and original empirical-historical research to contribute to currently burgeoning debates on human-nonhuman and inter-species relations.

Speaks to pressing inter-disciplinary concerns with how to understand nature-culture interactions and hybridity in socio-cultural life.

Draws critically upon cutting-edge analytical resources from actor-network-theory in order to show how to do empirical social research which acknowledges the role of nonhumans in social-historical processes.

Asks fundamental questions concerning the nature and remit of the social science project, such as whether a rapprochement with the natural sciences is desirable and how it may be possible to reconstruct social science without anthropocentrism.

From the Author:

The book undertakes a critique of the pervasive notion that human beings are separate from and elevated above the nonhuman world, and explores its role in the constitution of modernity. It does so through a detailed historical study of the British milk industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, so that the critique is carefully worked through empirical materials.

Milk as a substance posed deep social and material problems for modernity, being hard to transport and keep fresh as well as a highly fertile environment for the growth of bacteria and the transmission of diseases such as tuberculosis from cows to humans. The book traces how the ensuing insecurities and dilemmas threatened to erode the nature/culture divide as milk consumption grew along with urbanization, and had therefore to be managed by emergent forms of scientific, sanitary and disciplinary knowledge-practices.

The resulting story is a complex and unusual one, in which not only human social actors but also bacteria, tuberculosis, and cows themselves play crucial roles.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780415558747: Milk, Modernity and the Making of the Human: Purifying the Social (CRESC)

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ISBN 10: 0415558743 ISBN 13: 9780415558747
Publisher: Routledge, 2010
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