Front and back cover caption, volume 28 issue 1

Front and back cover


Communities around the world are experiencing changes in the price and availability of animal products. In many places, meat, which was once eaten rarely, if ever, is now more readily accessible.

In the top picture, a recently built international supermarket in the Guatemalan highlands stocks its shelves with packaged sandwich meat. The bottom image shows a meal served to mark a momentous occasion in the same community. Both of these images illustrate a change in dietary patterns that is manifesting in many regions of the world.

Several international organizations, concerned about balancing the environmental costs of meat with human nutritional needs, have begun to address what they typically describe as ‘the increasing worldwide demand’ for meat. But how might we understand this narrative? What assumptions underpin these representations of demand? What are the implications of this kind of economic framing?

In this issue, Emily Yates-Doerr takes up the question of how anthropologists, with their attention to local contexts and realities, might add to discussions of global transitions. How might ethnographers engage with and respond to the representations of global trends employed by international institutions? What might these questions say about the discipline of anthropology's own engagement with questions of material needs and demands?

The front cover shows how entomologists in Wageningen, The Netherlands, are responding to concerns about the ‘growing demand’ for livestock by working to cultivate edible insects, in this case mealworms, as ‘the next white meat’.