A Problematization of Pigs and Pork: A History of Modernity to Invent and Deodorize Odor

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In this article I will attempt to demonstrate how pig odor has been invented and deodorized through an analysis of the change in human-pig relations in Okinawa. I will also discuss the phases of accelerating odorphobia in modern society. First, I will criticize the tendency of social scientists to disregard the bodily senses, and then introduce recent studies of the senses in anthropology, sociology and history. In contrast to western mind/body dualism, I regard the senses as bodily modes of knowing and as pivots of experience. Furthermore, I believe it is necessary to consider the senses as social and cultural constructs. In Okinawa, pigs were the most important domestic animal and, until the arrival of industrialization in the post-war period, people used to keep several pigs in their place of residence. In the transition process, pigs were moved to secluded areas, far away from human residential areas. As a result, pig odor, which had been embedded in everyday life, became disembedded, thereby transforming pig odor into an offensive smell which had to be excluded. It is in this way that pig odor has been invented.


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