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Otomo, Yoriko (2014) 'The Gentle Cannibal: The Rise and Fall of Lawful Milk.' Australian Feminist Law Journal, 40 (2). pp. 215-228.

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Abstract

Milk, a globally traded commodity, is ubiquitous throughout our food systems. In light of its ever-increasing production and consumption, this article seeks to contextualise the fluid within a history of its regulation, tracing the role of state intervention in shifting milk feeding from the domestic to the public and to the international sphere; from the sacred and precious to the surplus and profane; and from corporeal matter to industrial material. There is a range of scholarly publications on milk, a couple of them looking specifically at legal aspects of milk production, and some taking feminist or animal welfare approaches to its commodification. The majority deal with either breastmilk and breastfeeding practices, or cow's milk production. This article extends the literature by analysing the co-evolution of regulation that, on the one hand, restricted direct human/animal contact in milk feeding while, on the other, enabled the creation of national and global cows’ milk production systems and distribution networks. The argument advanced is that there is no coincidence here: milk, with its symbolic and physiological powers of nurture and purification, plays a central role in securing the political economy of the late modern state and making lawful the bodies of its cities and its citizens. Furthermore, control over female human and animal lives through the process of milk production is an expression of political liberalism that cannot be ignored in any jurisprudence which takes that project seriously.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Law
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > School of Law
ISSN: 13200968
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1080/13200968.2014.1008097
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2015 17:49
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/21434

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