Chicken The Dangerous Transformation of America’s Favorite Food Steve Striffler

Series:
Yale Agrarian Studies Series
Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
13 Jul 2007
ISBN:
9780300123678
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
208 pages: 210 x 140mm
Illustrations:
10 b-w illus.

From inside the chicken factory, a report on the real cost of chicken for farmers, workers, and consumers

Anthropologist Steve Striffler begins this book in a poultry processing plant, drawing on his own experiences there as a worker. He also reports on the way chickens are raised today and how they are consumed. What he discovers about America’s favorite meat is not just unpleasant but a powerful indictment of our industrial food system. The process of bringing chicken to our dinner tables is unhealthy for all concerned—from farmer to factory worker to consumer. The book traces the development of the poultry industry since the Second World War, analyzing the impact of such changes as the destruction of the family farm, the processing of chicken into nuggets and patties, and the changing makeup of the industrial labor force. The author describes the lives of immigrant workers and their reception in the small towns where they live. The conclusion is clear: there has to be a better way. Striffler proposes radical but practical change, a plan that promises more humane treatment of chickens, better food for the consumer, and fair payment for food workers and farmers.

Steve Striffler is associate professor of anthropology, University of Arkansas.

"Like Fast Food Nation, Chicken will drop more than a few jaws with its descriptions, facts, and figures. That’s all the better. I hope that this smart book will be passed from hand to hand, so that consumers will challenge the status quo and so that activists, environmentalists, labor rights organizers, and others will recognize how closely their issues are linked."—Joel Stonington, Orion


"[A] fast-paced narrative, rich with personal detail."—Publishers Weekly


Selected for the National Agricultural Library collection.


"Striffler presents the first in-depth look at the rise of the chicken industry in late twentieth-century America. The story is vivid, engaging, and—in chapters dealing with Mexican and other immigrant chickenworkers—riveting."—Deborah Fitzgerald, author of Every Farm a Factory


"A gripping and deeply sobering view of ‘big chicken’ from the bottom up. Striffler’s experience on the (dis)assembly line, his sympathetic grasp of the hopes, dreams, and origins of the workforce, and of the larger history of the industry, make for a uniquely powerful and memorable book."—James C. Scott, Yale University


"Modern chicken production and consumption is embedded in a fascinating web of political, economic, social, and even psychological factors that need to be described, understood, and questioned. Steve Striffler, combining scholarly analysis with his remarkable brand of participatory research, has produced a masterful book, one I will recommend widely."—Kelly Brownell, Yale University


"With gripping prose and clear analysis, Striffler's Chicken brings workers, growers, consumers, as well as bird together around one big, unhappy table. His treatment of Mexican immigrant workers at Tyson's, in
particular, is a model of modern-day ethnography."—Leon Fink, editor of Labor: Working-Class History of the Americas


"Extraordinarily powerful. . . . This book will do for chicken what Fast Food Nation did for beef." —Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health