Infrastructure and Logistics

Pasturing dairy infrastructures in Northeastern Turkey: Pasture-cheesemaking, dairy technosciences and the Kars Kaşar Cheese

This article investigates the infrastructures of dairy farming and artisanal cheesemaking in rural Kars, Northeastern Turkey. Based on my 18-month ethnographic research on dairy farming and dairy sciences of pasture-cheeses of Kars, I conceptualize these dairy infrastructures as the material web of relations, which makes dairy production possible through sociotechnical practices of obtaining milk in pastures and crafting it into cheeses. The national food safety regulations (and its underlying Pasteurian technosciences) prioritize industrial dairy infrastructures at the expense of “unsafe” dairy production in pastures. I focus on an unlikely collaboration between scientists and small dairy farmers in the design and implementation of the Kars Kaşar Cheese geographical indication, which has altered dairy infrastructures in rural Kars in the last 10 years through practices of, what I call, “pasturing.” By analyzing how pastures appear in the milk and cheese, I argue that practices of pasturing the kaşar cheese challenge the industrial dairy infrastructures by prioritizing pasture-milk in the spatial arrangements across pastures and dairies, as well as by calibrating dairy craft and technosciences to sense pastures in the everyday life of dairy farming and cheesemaking.

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Volume 40 Issue 6

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