Embodiment is ecological: the metabolic lives of whey protein powder

King, S. and Weedon, G. ORCID: 0000-0001-7673-8587, 2019. Embodiment is ecological: the metabolic lives of whey protein powder. Body & Society. ISSN 1357-034X

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Abstract

This article explores the metabolic lives of whey powder, the most popular form of protein supplement in what has become a multibillion-dollar industry during the past two decades. Faced with the slippery and elusive properties latent to this multiplicitous substance, our approach is to follow whey powder from its mid-twentieth century emergence as a noxious byproduct of industrial dairy production, through the human and animal bodies unevenly tasked with its processing, and out into waterways, where its nitrogen density rematerializes as a pollutant. We show how whey powder emerged as a solution to the environmental damage posed by whey pollution, how such damage is an effect of the systematic overproduction endemic to agrofood industries, and how whey’s toxicity persists through processes of metabolism and consumption, despite attempts to process and profit from its vital capacities. Throughout, we argue that whey exemplifies ecological embodiment, understood as the co-constitutive relations between bodily matter and ecological life, and their entanglement with processes of commodification.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Body & Society
Creators: King, S. and Weedon, G.
Publisher: Sage
Date: 1 October 2019
ISSN: 1357-034X
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1177/1357034X19878775DOI
1117647Other
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Depositing User: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 10 Sep 2019 08:41
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2019 07:56
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/37619

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