Conclusion Fat Metabolism And Mobility

The metabolism of fat in bodies, cities and sewers is clearly interwoven within each other yet these linkages are poorly understood. The challenge is to understand the mutually defining relations between bodies, cities and sewers. Evidently, the city is a key factor in the production and reproduction of bodies and sewers. The city provides an emerging context and coordination for bodies and sewers, the order and organization that links bodies and sewers and the framework in which fat is consumed and deposited in bodies and sewers. But the relations between these metabolisms are extremely complex. Bodies and sewers must be considered active in the production and reproduction of the city. These mutually redefining relations can be viewed as series of interfaces between metabolisms. Rather than seeing the metabolism of cities and bodies and sewers as single entities, they should be regarded as assemblages with fat capable of crossing the boundaries between metabolisms to form particular sets of linkages. This is not to stress the unity of an idealized ecological balance but a set of interrelationships that involve a series of flows that are brought together and drawn apart in a series of temporary alignments.

The aim of this chapter has not been to present a comprehensive account of the flows of fat across the metabolisms of bodies, cities and infrastructures. Rather, our approach has sought to highlight the possibilities for following fat in ways that raise the visibility of the interdependencies between bodies, city and infrastructure within mobile society and which problematize attempts to isolate interventions to particular sets of relationships without the disruption of others. Researching mobile society, our exploratory investigation into fat suggests, requires a close examination of the interconnectivities constituted in mobile society that become more acutely revealed during times of "crisis" (Graham and Marvin 2001; Summerton 1994). Nonetheless our initial insights into the travels of fat through the metabolisms of bodies, cities and sewers demonstrates the significance of developing social scientific understanding of mobility beyond people into the "material worlds" (Urry 2003). Understanding the flows of fat in cities requires more than modelling techniques might suggest; it requires understanding of the complex configurations of bodies, cities and infrastructure within which fat emerges, transforms and, sometimes, moves on. Fat presents a case for opening up the social sciences to understanding mobility in terms of the interconnectivity of phenomena and spaces, not in a holistic sense as if all the relationship could be understood, but in terms of a sensitivity to moments of interconnectivity between the interfaces of different metabolisms. These interfaces become clearer when strategies to deal with fat are of removal, prevention and acceptance are illuminated. Whichever strategy is developed, directed towards bodies, infrastructure or the city, there are implications that go beyond the immediate boundaries of the strategy.

The problem of fat, we have argued, is one that circulates and while we have brought attention to particular relations between circulations in bodies, infrastructure and cities in the United States, to explore the mobility of fat requires further travels into a vast range of global interdependencies from the particular local challenges of sewer pipeline management to the global networks of the food production and pharmaceutical industry. Even fat acceptance then has implications. Doing nothing is not an option.

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