Meat Matters: Butchers, Politics, and Market Culture in Eighteenth-Century Paris

In eighteenth century Paris, municipal authorities, guild officers, merchant butchers, stall workers, and tripe dealers pledged to provide a steady supply of healthful meat to urban elites and the working poor. Meat Matters considers the formation of the butcher guild and family firms, debates over royal policy and regulation, and the burgeoning role of consumerism and public health. The production and consumption of meat becomes a window on important aspects of eighteenth-century culture, society, and politics, on class relations, and on economic change. Watts's examination of eighteenth-century market culture reveals why meat mattered to Parisians, as onetime subjects became citizens. Sydney Watts is assistant professor of history at the University of Richmond. She is currently working on the history of Lent and secular society in early modern France.