Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight
Assistant Professor of Politics, New School for Social Research
Thursday April 5th, 2012
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Ave, Manhattan
Reception to follow
Professor of Sociology, Women’s Studies, and Intercultural Studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY
Associate Professor of Political Science, Hunter College, CUNY
Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight (Yale University Press, 2011) is an account of industrialized killing from a participant’s point of view. 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.
Co-Organizers: The Social and Political Theory Student Association (SPTSA)