Kristian Bjørkdahl and Karen Lykke Syse: From ritual loss of life to loss of living rituals: on judicialization of slaughter and denial of animal death

Published in Food, Culture & Society, 2022.

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The increasingly industrial character of meat production has entailed significant changes to the relations we have to the animals we eat. In this article we first describe some of the practices and rituals that characterized slaughter in Norway up to the first decades of the 20th century. In this period, Norwegians drew on rituals to make the killing of an animal meaningful and acceptable. Then, by exploring the original impetus toward “humane slaughter” in the early to mid-20th century, we show how ritual transformations of animals into meat gave way to laws and regulations to justify animal killing. Finally, we provide a contemporary example of how far this “judicialization” of animal killing has come, and argue that this process has enabled the widespread denial of the animal origin of meat.


Kristian Bjørkdahl and Karen Lykke Syse

Forsker Kristian Bjørkdahl
Associate professor Karen Lykke Syse
Associate professor Karen Lykke Syse
Published June 15, 2022 3:09 PM - Last modified June 15, 2022 3:11 PM