Metabolism is a plural concept, referring to socio-ecological flows of materials and energy from cells to cities. Scholarship on urban metabolism leverages the concept to attend to the circulatory dynamics of cities, its relations to the countryside, and even a world ecology of capitalism. Science and Technology Studies (STS) invokes metabolic processes in the body – from fatigue to absorption – to understand quotidian life and to rework the body as the site of regulation and control.
How might we attend to urban metabolism across these scales? And what might an ethnographic attention to nonhuman bodies – including what we eat eats – offer up for a different reading of the pulse and politics of urban life? We attend to some of these questions through a range of concepts and empirics, from industrial poultry-keeping to the ecology of urban scavengers and habitats generated by waste.