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Accepted Paper:

From the ‘Single’ to the ‘Flock’: The Biopolitical Identity of the Mass-Produced Chicken in Modern Farms  
Yixuan Li (The University of Manchester)

Short abstract:

This paper analyses the biopolitical transformation of chickens' individuality in industrial farms, examining how breeding practices and mass production changed their agency and redefining multispecies collaboration and stakeholder roles in agro-industrial innovation.

Long abstract:

The industrialisation of poultry farming has effaced the individual animality of chickens, displacing their agency and transforming them into a mass-produced collective. This transformation is linked to the modern breeding pyramid model, where only the breeding lines have a decisive genetic influence over selection and marketability. However, as these elite breeds become commoditized for mass production, the individuality of the chicken is being lost. In the process of mass production, value is added through (e.g., farming and slaughtering), transforming them into meat products to meet diverse consumer demands.

This paper examines the biopolitical process through which chickens are integrated into industrialised food production, being socialised from individuals to a collective existence within factory farms. These spaces represent a complex network where stakeholders are involved and where biopower flows. The study probes how chickens, within the confines of factory farms, leverage their non-human nature to interact with and influence agricultural practices, research and innovation, industry infrastructures, and policy formulation.

This paper examines the biopolitical process through which chickens are integrated into industrialised food production, being socialised from individuals to a collective existence within factory farms. These spaces represent a complex network where stakeholders are involved and where biopower flows. The study compares digitalised and conventional farms and probes how chickens leverage their non-human nature to interact with and influence agricultural practices, industry infrastructures, and policy formulation. It also examines the potential for agency among chicken flocks within these modern agro-industrial complexes, and how they would interact with the local environment.

Traditional Open Panel P340
More-than human research and innovation
  Session 1