Accepted Paper:

Making worlds in animal slaughter  


Kara Wentworth (University of California San Diego)

Paper short abstract:

Through a combination of video and live performance, this presentation explores how lives and worlds are made out of deaths in animal slaughter.

Paper long abstract:

This work is part of a larger project exploring how meaning is made in everyday practice on a slaughterhouse kill floor. By following animals, butchers, inspectors, organs, microbes, researchers, and knives, I make sense of how repeated material interactions between more-than-human beings constitute worlds.

Through writing and video, I trace stories of world-making in practice. Through an ethnographic engagement of kill floors, meat conferences, agricultural fraternities, general stores, ranchers, and spaces in between, I try to understand how shared meanings and socio-political worlds are made. I argue that seemingly intractable differences across cultural communities are located in the same core urges: hopes and fears for the future congeal in the present as political commitments.

Through this work, I offer a novel analysis of the nature of difference, the nature of knowledge, and the nature of socio-political worlds. I argue that difference, knowledge, and the worlds we live in are all made through daily practice, and through interactions between humans, non-humans and things. Meaning is made through bodies, movement, action, interaction, cuts, marks, repetition, and agreement.

Panel T059
Making Worlds: Feminist STS and everyday technoscience