Modern Meat, Industrial Swine: China And The Remaking Of Agri-Food Politics In The 21St Century

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This dissertation examines the causes and consequences of the industrialization of pig farming in reform era China. As one of the most dramatic agricultural transformations in the world today, the shifting conditions and relations of livestock and meat production in China have profound social and environmental impacts for communities and agroecosystems in both local and global contexts. Investigating how modernity and food security are defined, practiced, and legitimated through the country's agricultural development model, and to what effect for social equality and environmental sustainability, is the primary task of this work. The study is framed around the meatification project, a concept that directly engages the intentional and constructed nature of the shift of meat from the periphery to the center of human diets. I've defined the meatification project as "a strategically managed set of policies, discourses, relations, and resources enacted with the goal of increasing commodity meat production, modern forms of meat consumption, and agribusiness profits." Framed around pork and the processes involved in its making, my approach combines theories of development, political economy, and political ecology to explore the politics and consequences of industrial pork production and the rise of domestic agribusiness since Reform and Opening in 1978. The work is principally concerned with understanding how these agricultural transformations impact smallholder farmers, rural environments and social reproduction, food security and class diets, as well as how the form and management of China's agricultural development model is remaking global agri-food politics.

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meatification; China; agricultural development


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McMichael, Philip David

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Pell, Alice N
Pfeffer, Max John

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Development Sociology

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Ph. D., Development Sociology

Degree Level

Doctor of Philosophy

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Government Document




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dissertation or thesis

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