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The number of animals raised and slaughtered for food in the U.S. has increased dramatically since 1945. We examine how two factors have been fundamental in this expansion…
The number of animals raised and slaughtered for food in the U.S. has increased dramatically since 1945. We examine how two factors have been fundamental in this expansion of “meat” consumption: the market and the state. U.S. agricultural policies that emerged form the New Deal centered on price supports and production controls. While these policies were aimed at controlling supply, they instead spurred intensive and industrial techniques that resulted in continuous overproduction, especially in corn, wheat and soybeans. As a result, farm organizations and the state promoted “meat” production and consumption as a way to alleviate the surplus. To handle this expansion, intensive and industrial methods reshaped “meat” production, resulting in more oppressive living conditions for animals raised as “meat”. We explore this connection between the market, state policy and animal oppression. We also briefly analyze how this relationship has likewise affected workers and peripheral nations in the world economy.
Only within the past decade have sociologists begun to investigate the relationships between humans and other animals. Even more recently, college courses that examine…
Only within the past decade have sociologists begun to investigate the relationships between humans and other animals. Even more recently, college courses that examine this subject have emerged. This article looks at one such undergraduate sociology course – Animals and Society – at the University of South Carolina Spartanburg. It outlines the opposition to the course and the fight for its approval. Then an overview of the course objectives and content is presented, followed by an assessment of the impact of the course on students. Finally the implications of the emergence of animals and society courses in sociology, and the new sub‐field of animal studies, are discussed.
It is widely accepted among critical human–animal scholars that an absolute ontological distinction between humans and animals, the human–animal dualism, is an ideological…
It is widely accepted among critical human–animal scholars that an absolute ontological distinction between humans and animals, the human–animal dualism, is an ideological construction. However, even some of the most radical animalists make use of a softer version of it when they explain animal exploitation and domination in capitalism. By criticizing the reintroduction of the human–animal dualism through the back door, I reopen the terrain for a historical–materialist explanation of bourgeois animal exploitation and domination that does not conceptualize them as a matter of species in the first place. Rather, with reference and in analogy to ecosocialist arguments on the greenhouse effect, it is demonstrated that a specific faction of capital – animal capital – which uses animals and animal products as means of production, is the root cause, key agent, and main profiteer of animal exploitation and domination in the current mode of production. Thus, the reworked concept of animal capital presented here differs from the original, postoperaist notion introduced by Nicole Shukin since it is based on a classic sociorelational and value theoretical understanding of capitalism. According to this approach, animals are integrated socioeconomically into the capitalist class society via a relation of superexploitation to capital, which can be called the capital–animal relation.
Sociology, narrowly defined and almost universally practiced as the study of human society, is limited in its benefits to human animals because it ignores how…
Sociology, narrowly defined and almost universally practiced as the study of human society, is limited in its benefits to human animals because it ignores how hegemonically crafted and unjust human social arrangements are intertwined with the oppressive treatment of other animals. This article promotes a wider definition of sociology and its practice, one that includes the lives and experiences of other species. The analysis uses a recrafted minority group theory that highlights the entangled oppression of humans and other animals. A historicalmaterialist reflection on relationships between humans and other animals demonstrates the efficacy of this more inclusive theory. Sociologists must become aware of and engage this wider approach to the study of society in order to understand how social arrangements create oppressive conditions for both humans and other animals and to increase the possibility for the discipline to have substantive impact on deteriorating societal and global conditions.
This paper addresses the social forces, such as cultural traditions, economic structures, and legal systems, affecting animal (human and nonhuman) rights. Also considered…
This paper addresses the social forces, such as cultural traditions, economic structures, and legal systems, affecting animal (human and nonhuman) rights. Also considered are the cross‐cultural degrees of societal advancement on rights, as illustrated by cultures that are stagnant on rights, progressive on rights, and regressive on rights. The definition of “advanced” versus “primitive” cultures is somewhat complicated with the argument being that technologically and materially advanced cultures can be primitive on rights issues, as found in the present‐day US. The right‐wing Bush administration, greatly aided by the “war on terrorism”, has devolved human rights by reducing civil liberties, freedom of assembly, educational opportunities, and economic equality. This repression of human rights has repercussions for environmental protection and nonhuman rights, as demonstrated herein.
The purpose of this paper is to make a case for the political use of methods to shape posthumanist futures that are for animals. It makes this case by drawing on findings…
The purpose of this paper is to make a case for the political use of methods to shape posthumanist futures that are for animals. It makes this case by drawing on findings from qualitative research on the lived experience of navigating human–pet relationships.
The argument in this paper draws on qualitative data from interviews and observations with human participants and “their” companion animals to demonstrate that centring animals in research highlights new data and encourages participants to challenge anthropocentric narratives of pet relationships.
The findings of this project indicate that using animal-inclusive research methods is effective in centring non-human animals in discussions and providing new insights into human–animal relations that can inform and move towards critical posthumanist futures.
If the central argument that methods play an important role in shaping social worlds is accepted then human–animal studies scholars may need to think more carefully about how they design, conduct and frame research with non-human animals.
If the argument for centring companion animals in research is taken seriously, then those working with humans and companion animals in the community might significantly alter their methods to more meaningfully engage with non-human animals' experiences.
Current research has concerned itself with the challenge of how to understand animals' experiences through research. There has been little consideration of how multi-species research reflects and shapes social worlds and how methods might be considered a fruitful site of transforming relations and pursuing posthumanist futures.
Drawing upon Alfred Sohn-Rethel's work, we argue that, just as capitalism produces abstract labor, it coproduces both abstract mind and abstract life. Abstract mind is the…
Drawing upon Alfred Sohn-Rethel's work, we argue that, just as capitalism produces abstract labor, it coproduces both abstract mind and abstract life. Abstract mind is the split between mind and nature and between subject/observer and observed object that characterizes scientific epistemology. Abstract mind reflects an abstracted objectified world of nature as a means to be exploited. Biological life is rendered as abstract life by capitalist exploitation and by the reification and technologization of organisms by contemporary technoscience. What Alberto Toscano has called “the culture of abstraction” imposes market rationality onto nature and the living world, disrupting biotic communities and transforming organisms into what Finn Bowring calls “functional bio-machines.”
This article explores the different ways in which the vegan turn within the animal advocacy movement in Australia has played out for two organisations, Animal Liberation Victoria (ALV) and Animals Australia. Previous research has found that this promotion of veganism has occurred to varying degrees for different organisations and this article will analyse some of these variations in greater depth, drawing on the sociological theory of resource mobilisation.
This article provides a case study on the campaigning of ALV and Animals Australia on the issue of the dairy industry, as well as an overview of their histories, with a focus on the changing level of vegan campaigning over time. In order to explore this issue, this article will draw on the campaigning materials of the organisations studied, a wide range of academic literature and interviews with key figures from both of these organisations.
Larger organisations have a limited ability to regularly promote a vegan message due to their need to bring in a large amount of resources to sustain costs such as their office costs and paid staff. It is more grassroots organisations that have far greater scope to consistently and strongly promote a vegan message, although they reach fewer people.
The increasing uptake of veganism will have important implications for animals as well as for human health and the environment. The environmental benefits of veganism become even more significant in light of the urgent need to tackle the substantial threat of climate change.
This article is a contribution to the expanding field of critical animal studies as well as to the literature on sociology and animals. It builds on the limited amount of existing sociological literature on vegan activism and contributes an analysis in Australian context.