Zeynep Gizem Haspolat

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Rice U.

Grant number

Gr. 10114

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Haspolat, Zeynep Gizem (Rice U.) "Commodifying Life, Managing Liveliness: Live Cattle Imports in Turkey"

ZEYNEP GIZEM HASPOLAT, then a graduate student at Rice University, Houston, Texas, was awarded a grant in April 2021 to aid research on “Commodifying Life, Managing Liveliness: Live Cattle Imports in Turkey,” supervised by Dr. Gunel Gokce. This project examined the conflicts and convergences between veterinary health and economic efficiency by focusing on live cattle imports in Turkey since the 2010s. The fieldwork focused primarily on the knowledge and practices of veterinarians and private companies taking part in livestock economies, combining these with the research on the bureaucratic organization of live imports. Drawing on interviews, online media content, and field visits to importing companies, farms, and veterinary medical associations, the research analyzed the impacts of the liveliness of the animals on the economic relations formed around the cattle trade. The cattle as a living commodity emerged as a source of value on different, often divergent veterinary and economic terms, pushing the actors involved in the trade to reconcile those disparities. Veterinary health practitioners, importers, and state officials have taken up differential valuations of the cattle at the level of the microbial, the individual, and the herd against the backdrop of the increased frequency of zoonoses, the ongoing pandemic, and the economic crisis. Attending to the complex relationship between these levels, this project highlights the importance of attending to the intricate relationship between veterinary health, public health, and socio-ecological relations within capitalism.