Meaning is the product of dialectical negotiations of competing meanings that have their origins in cultural, subcultural, and idiosyncratic differences. Below obvious, surface, or dominant understandings, latent meanings wait to bubble up. This dynamic process of meaning-making suggests that language is, to a certain degree, uncontainable and very lively. Donna Haraway's work can be characterized by an attention to this 'latency' in language. I argue that Haraway’s use of language is not merely a way of communicating ideas, but constitutes a methodology, theory and praxis all at once, because she obtains “data” by mining latency, because she theorizes the significance of undercurrents and assumptions in phenomena, and because her writing itself demonstrates the very latency she is keen to explore. Here, language demonstrates an immensely generative capacity, such that we can understand language as being “living” – perhaps a companion species, and not merely dead “meat.” Through an analysis of American meat culture and what I call “meat heroism," I mime the infinite recursion in Haraway’s work, adopting her praxis in order to illuminate her praxis in order to illuminate her method which illuminates her theory. This paper is about language, failure, humour, cowboys, hero sandwiches, Martin Luther King Jr., and protein.
Donna Haraway, meat culture, companion species, praxis, language
Copyright © 2010 Rebecca Scott
Recommended CitationScott, Rebecca. "Meat My Hero: “I have a Dream” of Living Language in the Work of Donna Haraway, Or, Ride ‘Em Cowboy!." Poroi 6, Iss. 2 (2009): p. 3-14 http://dx.doi.org/10.13008/2151-2957.1064
Thanks are owed to Terry Neiman, Danielle Deveau, Vincent Mosco, Myra Hird, Sergio Sismondo, Catherine Krull, Zoë Druick, and Kirsten McAllister, whose ideas have greatly influenced my thinking in this paper, as well as to the reviewers and editors for their helpful comments. I would like to thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada for the financial support.