Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight

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Yale University Press, Nov 18, 2011 - Social Science - 320 pages
This is an account of industrialized killing from a participant's point of view. The author, political scientist Timothy Pachirat, was employed undercover for five months in a Great Plains slaughterhouse where 2,500 cattle were killed per day--one every twelve seconds. Working in the cooler as a liver hanger, in the chutes as a cattle driver, and on the kill floor as a food-safety quality-control worker, Pachirat experienced firsthand the realities of the work of killing in modern society. He uses those experiences to explore not only the slaughter industry but also how, as a society, we facilitate violent labor and hide away that which is too repugnant to contemplate.Through his vivid narrative and ethnographic approach, Pachirat brings to life massive, routine killing from the perspective of those who take part in it. He shows how surveillance and sequestration operate within the slaughterhouse and in its interactions with the community at large. He also considers how society is organized to distance and hide uncomfortable realities from view. With much to say about issues ranging from the sociology of violence and modern food production to animal rights and welfare, "Every Twelve Seconds" is an important and disturbing work.

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Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight

User Review  - Book Verdict

From June to December 2004, Pachirat (politics, New Sch.) worked at a cattle slaughterhouse in Nebraska. During his tenure, he worked in three distinct areas: in the cooler as a liver hanger, on the ... Read full review

EVERY TWELVE SECONDS: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight

User Review  - Kirkus

An in-depth examination by an undercover academic about the slaughtering of cattle for food.Pachirat (Politics/New School Univ.) settled in Omaha in 2004 to conduct participant-observation research at ... Read full review


IHidden in Plain Sight
IIThe Place Where Blood Flows
IIIKill Floor
IVEs todo por hoy
VOne Hundred Thousand Livers
VIKilling at Close Range
VIIControl of Quality
VIIIQuality of Control
IXA Politics of Sight
Division of Labor on the Kill Floor
Cattle Body Parts and Their Uses

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About the author (2011)

Timothy Pachirat is assistant professor, Department of Politics, The New School. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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