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(Un-)Knowing Food

Herkunft, (Un-)Sicherheit und die Moral des Essens am Beispiel von Fleischprodukten in der Steiermark

Funding: Steiermärkische Landesregierung, Referat für Wissenschaft und Forschung

Amount of funding: 99.000 Euro

Duration: 24 Months: 11/2014 – 10/2016

Project lead: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrich Ermann und Annalisa Colombino Ph.D.

Research staff: Heide Bruckner M.A.

Contact: ulrich.ermann(at)uni-graz.at

Cooperation partners:


  • Verein „Regionale Gemeinschaftsinitiative Almenland“
  • Verein zur Förderung des Steirischen Vulkanlands
  • Prof. Lawrence Busch Ph.D. (Michigan State University, Department of Sociology, and Center for the Study of Standards in Society)
  • Dr. Mara Miele, Cardiff University, Cardiff School of Planning and Geography
  • Dr. Paolo Giaccaria, Universität Turin, Dipartimento di Scienze Economico-Sociali e Matematico-Statistiche
  • Univ.-Doz. Mag. Dr. Gabriele Sorgo, Institut für Erziehungs- und Bildungswissenschaft der Universität Graz
  • Dr. Sebastian Nessel, Institut für Soziologie der Universität Graz (Forschungsschwerpunkt 5: Wirtschaftssoziologie)
  • Mag.a Sandra Karner, Institut für Technik- und Wissenschaftsforschung der Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt, Standort Graz

The Project „(Un)Knowing Food“ examines the assemblage, circulation, and performance of transparency within the pork and beef industry of Styria, Austria. The research question arises from the expansion of transparency and traceability schemes to connect consumers to the origin of meat products, and the simultaneous disconnecting of consumption and production contexts. On the one hand, there is an increase in meat labels, farm tours, and visible animal bodies, while at the same time consumers largely unknow and forget about the animal lives that become meat. This tension raises the question: what does it mean to know your meat? How does the individual animal become (un)known to the consumer? This research will follow the constructing of transparency schemes, and their qualitative impacts on consumer relationships to animals. The results of the research project will form the basis for collaboration with regional meat producers in Styria, with the aim of transgressing existing boundaries between spaces of consumption and production.

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