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Meat: A Natural Symbol
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Meat: A Natural Symbol

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  42 Ratings  ·  5 Reviews
Meat is a broad-ranging and provocative study of the human passion for meat. It aims to intrigue anyone who has ever wondered why meat is important to us: why we eat some animals but not others; why vegetarianism is increasing; why we aren't cannibals; and how meat is associated with environmental destruction. Nick Fiddes argues that meat's primary cultural importance is f ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 22nd 1992 by Routledge (first published December 1991)
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Marta Zaraska
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you read any contemporary book on sociology of food, there is a pretty good chance that in a chapter dealing with meat one work will be quoted: “Meat: A Natural Symbol” by Nick Fiddes. Fiddes, a Scottish anthropologist who gave up academia to trade in kilts and tartans, put forward another theory why we find meat so tempting: It’s because it symbolizes our power over nature. To chew and to swallow other highly evolved organisms, ones that can feel and fight and bleed, is to show our human sup ...more
Why is meat so important in Western society? Is it really because we need the protein? How do our myths about meat consumption shape our conceptions on ethics, animal husbandry, and ecology?

Mr Fiddes has written a broad sociological introduction in Meat, discussing topics ranging from European intellectual thought, as well as using interviews and quantitative statistical data. Meat is a symbol within our culture - it is a sign of prosperity, of control over nature, of mankind's power. The author
Martin Rowe
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been over 20 years since I read this book—not too long after it first came out—and it's both depressing and enlightening just how little has changed: meat is still the locus for status, masculinity, and the inevitable triumph of capitalism, even though the effects on our waistlines, the environment, and animal welfare of our devotion to animal flesh have only become more dramatic and existentially threatening. Fiddes writes clearly, with passion (and some irony), and with astonishing presci ...more
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food
A great read. Not at all about the usual nutritional information and Atkinites-vs.-the-Vegans stuff, but about what meat means to us as a culture. Wide-ranging and well-thought-out.
Ines Tomaš
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Matthew Liebman
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Sune Borkfelt
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Sep 24, 2017 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
"The unvoiced symbolic values which continue to underpin meat’s popularity today principally concern our relationship with nature, as we perceive it. In this way changing attitudes to meat, as revealed by changing habits, may also be eloquent commentary on fundamental developments in society. Meat’s signification, I suggest, principally relates to environmental control, and it has long held an unrivalled status amongst major foods on account of this meaning. But meat’s stature is not inherent in ...more
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