Innovation of meat knowledge

Duration August 2018 – July 2021

Project Manager René John

Funder BMBF

Cooperation Partner Universität Regensburg, Landschaftsmuseum Westerwald, Deutsches Kochbuchmuseum Dortmund, Hochschule Fulda

Subproject in the joint project: The reification of the living: Meat as a cultural asset

In cooperation with the University of Regensburg, the Landscape Museum Westerwald, the German Cookbook Museum Dortmund and the University of Applied Sciences Fulda, funded by the BMBF (2018-2021).

The joint project “Verdinglichung des Lebendigen” (Reification of the Living) deals with the object “meat” as it is transformed from a living animal into reified meat and sausage products along the production chain. Heterogeneous actors, discourses and materialities give meat a genuine meaning, which – especially in its partial polyphony and contradictions – allows for statements about social transformations and the innovation potentials linked to them.

The subproject “Innovation of meat knowledge” deals with the change of social structures. It is concerned with how random reproduction problems (variations) as opportunities lead to deviating but permanently current structures (selection), in that an adaptation to the social environment is established (retention) and thus led to the basically improbable global meat production and consumption. The effect of contingent intentions from science, politics, economy and other contexts has to be examined to clarify how the present order could be established. In this way, the language of the object meat can be used to highlight changes in societal self-relationships with regard to nature and technology, and trends in the objectification of the living as raw material and food can be derived as meat.

Contact: René John

  • “The Reification of the Living: FleischWissen” (MeatKnowledge) Online-Symposium on February 25 and 26, 2021: “The slaughterhouse and modern society – a problematic relationship”
    Registration until February 20, 2021 at
    To see the program and more information, click here.
    To view the abstract, click here.
  • Deutsche Welle interview with Jana Rückert-John: “Meet is no longer a privat matter
  • Here you can find the project homepage (German).

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