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Article
Publication date: 25 February 2019

Erik Cohen

This study aims to raises the question of the potential impact of posthumanism, a stream in contemporary postmodernist philosophy, on current tourism practices and tourism…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to raises the question of the potential impact of posthumanism, a stream in contemporary postmodernist philosophy, on current tourism practices and tourism studies. The author discusses its denial of some basic positions of enlightenment humanism: human exceptionalism, anthropocentrism and transcendentalism. The author then seeks to infer the implications of posthumanist thought for the basic concepts and categorical distinctions on which modern tourism and modernist tourist studies are based.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper raises the question of the potential impact of posthumanism, a stream in contemporary postmodernist philosophy, on current tourism practices and tourism studies. The author discusses its denial of some basic positions of Enlightenment humanism: human exceptionalism, anthropocentrism and transcendentalism. The author then seeks to infer the implications of posthumanist thought for the basic concepts and categorical distinctions on which modern tourism and modernist tourist studies are based. This paper raises the question of the potential impact of posthumanism, a stream in contemporary postmodernist philosophy, on current tourism practices and tourism studies. The author discusses its denial of some basic positions of Enlightenment humanism: human exceptionalism, anthropocentrism and transcendentalism. The author then seeks to infer the implications of posthumanist thought for the basic concepts and categorical distinctions on which modern tourism and modernist tourist studies are based. The author then discusses some inconsistencies in posthumanist philosophy, which stand in the way of its applicability to touristic practices, and end up with an appraisal of the significance of posthumanism for tourism studies.

Findings

The author pays specific attention to the implications of the effort of posthumanism to erase the human-animal divide for tourist-animal interaction, and of the possible impact of the adoption of posthumanist practices on the tourist industry and the ecological balance of wilderness areas. The author then discusses some inconsistencies in posthumanist philosophy, which stand in the way of its applicability to touristic practices, and end up with a brief appraisal of the significance of posthumanism for tourism studies.

Originality/value

This is the first attempt to confront tourism studies with the radical implications of posthumanist thought. It will hopefully open a new line of discourse in the field.

Details

Tourism Review, vol. 74 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1660-5373

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Article
Publication date: 29 April 2020

Alexander Thomas

While transhumanists and posthumanists understand the human condition as mutable, for transhumanists, this represents the possibility for enhancement, opening up a…

Abstract

Purpose

While transhumanists and posthumanists understand the human condition as mutable, for transhumanists, this represents the possibility for enhancement, opening up a teleological narrative of evolution toward. For posthumanists, it represents a fracturing of the liberal human subject, undermining its hegemonic principles. The former advocates the potentiality of instrumental rationality, the latter engages with values, demanding ethical consideration of the implications of the unmooring. This paper aims to conceive of a way to underpin posthumanist thought to enable to serve a more effective critique of transhumanist aims.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a theoretical paper that outlines a history of transhumanist thought and the roots of posthumanism. It provides a partially reconstructed enlightenment humanist framework to bolster the effectiveness of posthumanism as a critique of transhumanist thought.

Findings

The paper recognizes Theodor Adorno's conception that the central contradiction inherent to enlightenment thinking is the entanglement of knowledge and power. Hence, the metanarrative of progress as historical fact is fundamentally imbued with an imperial, colonizing force. For reason to achieve its promise as the organ of progress, it must become self-aware of its own limitations and its own potential destructiveness. Humility is, thus, vital in the task of preventing instrumental reason leading to inhuman ends.

Originality/value

Whilst developments such as “metahumanism” attempt to bring “posthumanism” and “transhumanism” into direct conversation, it is done from the perspective of uniting their positions. Here, the author endeavors instead to consider their antithetical nature and in particular whether posthumanism can provide an effective critique of transhumanism. Drawing on Adorno and Feenberg in particular, the author attempts to justify the posthuamanist theory but also to employ a partially reconstructed enlightenment humanism to bolster its fruitfulness as a critique of transhumanism.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 41 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 19 May 2021

Erika Cudworth, Will Boisseau and Richard J. White

Abstract

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 41 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Abstract

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Posthumanism in Digital Culture
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-80043-107-2

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Article
Publication date: 24 June 2020

Hannah Gunderman and Richard White

The authors articulate a posthuman politics of hope to unpack the richly embodied personal experiences and web of relationalities formed through repeated encounters with…

Abstract

Purpose

The authors articulate a posthuman politics of hope to unpack the richly embodied personal experiences and web of relationalities formed through repeated encounters with insects. Interrogating insect speciesism teaches to extend the authors’ compassion and live symbiotically with insects. The authors focus on the narrative of insect decline as impacted by colonialism and white supremacy, enabling insect speciesism to flourish alongside exploitation of other human and nonhuman creatures.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors pay particular attention the use of everyday language and framing of insects to “other” them, thereby trivializing and demonizing their existence, including “it's *just* a bug” or “they are pests.” Insect speciesism employs similar rhetoric reinforcing discrimination patterns of other nonhuman animals and humans. The authors focus on the unexpected encounters with insects in domestic spaces, such as an office desk, and through the multispecies space of “the allotment.”

Findings

The authors reflect on two possible posthuman futures: one where insect speciesism is entrenched and unrepentant; the second a decolonized society where we aspire to live a more compassionate and non-violent existence amidst these remarkable and brilliant creatures we owe our very existence on Earth.

Originality/value

One of the most profound lessons of the crisis-driven epoch of the Anthropocene is this: our existence on Earth is intimately bound with the flourishing of all forms of life. This includes complex multispecies encounters between humans and insects, an area of enquiry widely neglected across the social sciences. Faced with imminent catastrophic decline and extinction of insect and invertebrate populations, human relationships with these fellow Earthlings are deserving of further attention.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 41 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 17 October 2018

Michael A. Peters

In this chapter, educational philosopher Michael Peters discusses the emergence of new movements in thought and educational research practice in an “epoch of digital…

Abstract

In this chapter, educational philosopher Michael Peters discusses the emergence of new movements in thought and educational research practice in an “epoch of digital reason” that encompass the posthuman and decentered intimate scholarship. Peters describes changes that have occurred at the juncture of philosophy, culture, and science, probing the notion of a “coming after” of postmodernism in a post-truth era that has seen a rise in reactionary, anti-intellectual, anti-immigrant reaction across the Western world. Peters provides insight regarding this collection of changes in thinking, to which the decentering of subjectivity is critical, and even, as he suggests, one of the foundations of modern philosophy after Descartes. This shift in thinking across disciplines entails a turn to systems and ecological thinking; an understanding of consciousness as situated, distributed, and enacted; and a view of the world as constituted by productive difference. Other changes include connecting affect and cultural dimensions to research, which is expanding our view of science and what shapes science. Peters notes that these shifts turn us to new questions about rethinking concepts that are grounded in the liberal, intentional notion of the subject, such as agency and responsibility for one’s actions. As we engage in this rethinking, Peters suggests that we learn from indigenous studies, as indigenous peoples have been putting to work different forms of posthumanism for millennia.

Details

Decentering the Researcher in Intimate Scholarship
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78754-636-3

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Article
Publication date: 30 April 2020

Rhiannon Firth and Andrew Robinson

This paper maps utopian theories of technological change. The focus is on debates surrounding emerging industrial technologies which contribute to making the relationship…

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper maps utopian theories of technological change. The focus is on debates surrounding emerging industrial technologies which contribute to making the relationship between humans and machines more symbiotic and entangled, such as robotics, automation and artificial intelligence. The aim is to provide a map to navigate complex debates on the potential for technology to be used for emancipatory purposes and to plot the grounds for tactical engagements.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper proposes a two-way axis to map theories into to a six-category typology. Axis one contains the parameters humanist–assemblage. Humanists draw on the idea of a human essence of creative labour-power, and treat machines as alienated and exploitative form of this essence. Assemblage theorists draw on posthumanism and poststructuralism, maintaining that humans always exist within assemblages which also contain non-human forces. Axis two contains the parameters utopian/optimist; tactical/processual; and dystopian/pessimist, depending on the construed potential for using new technologies for empowering ends.

Findings

The growing social role of robots portends unknown, and maybe radical, changes, but there is no single human perspective from which this shift is conceived. Approaches cluster in six distinct sets, each with different paradigmatic assumptions.

Practical implications

Mapping the categories is useful pedagogically, and makes other political interventions possible, for example interventions between groups and social movements whose practice-based ontologies differ vastly.

Originality/value

Bringing different approaches into contact and mapping differences in ways which make them more comparable, can help to identify the points of disagreement and the empirical or axiomatic grounds for these. It might facilitate the future identification of criteria to choose among the approaches.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 41 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 15 June 2020

Federica Timeto

This paper considers the role of nonhuman animals in the thought of Donna Haraway, going from her critique of the animal as model/mirror for the evolution of the human…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper considers the role of nonhuman animals in the thought of Donna Haraway, going from her critique of the animal as model/mirror for the evolution of the human body politic to her proposal for a “compost” society. It demonstrates her changing positions in relation to the social role of animals and the deepening of her critique of intersectional relations that subordinate nonhuman animals and animalized people.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper intertwines a loosely historical approach and a thematic one, focusing on key issues of sociological theory, such as work, agency and kinship, and the way these relate to the animal question in Haraway's writings. Her texts are discussed both broadly and in-depth, and her positionality in terms of both feminism and antispeciesism is foregrounded.

Findings

The paper shows how the progressive abandonment of a posthuman approach in favor of a compostist one brings Haraway nearer to intersectional ecofeminism and to a fuller consideration of nonhuman agency at a material level, as well as to a deeper critique of instrumental relations of domination and issue that had been problematic in critiques of her earlier work.

Social implications

The paper highlights the role of nonhumans in the evolution and constitution of societies and advocates a response-able multispecies politics.

Originality/value

This paper offers a comprehensive analysis of the social role of animals in Haraway's thought and the deepening antispeciesism of her feminist approach that sheds a different light on her positionality in relation to ecofeminism.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 41 no. 3/4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 6 September 2017

Rita Ghesquiere

The worldwide environmental crisis has also influenced the field of literary studies. Posthumanism and ecocriticism is a new way of reading in which the anthropocentric…

Abstract

The worldwide environmental crisis has also influenced the field of literary studies. Posthumanism and ecocriticism is a new way of reading in which the anthropocentric approach and the binary oppositions such as human/non-human, wild/tame and natural/cultural are overcome. Posthumanism pays attention to all sorts of non-human life, animals, for sure, but aliens and robots are included too, while ecocriticism is concerned with the role and function of nature in literary texts. The chapter offers an ecocritical approach of Robinson Crusoe (Defoe) and Friday (Tournier). Rereading these novels we see that nature, or the elements, make up an ‘actant’ equal to the human characters and a special interest is created in the mutual conflicts which arise between nature and the human characters.

Robinson Crusoe (Defoe, 1719) is considered by many as an appropriate book to allow pupils to escape from or be shielded from the negative influence of civilization. Like Robinson on his island pupils should learn from experience. Defoe’s work was so popular it inspired a whole series of imitations called ‘Robinsonnades’ and many of them were edited specifically for children. But is Robinson Crusoe a valuable book from an ecological point of view? How does Robinson relate to nature? Does the novel focus on nature or rather on the human hero seeking to control and tame the environment?

In 1967, the French author Michel Tournier reworked the Crusoe myth in Vendredi ou les limbes du Pacifique (Friday or the Pacific Rim), followed by a parallel text for children Vendredi ou la vie sauvage (Friday or the Wild Life, 1971). In both novels Robinson’s black servant, Friday, initiates his colonial master into alternative ways of living, dismantling civilization and restoring nature. That same deconstruction of the idea of Western superiority fits well with the postcolonial philosophy that attacks the logic of domination and its hierarchical dichotomy: white above coloured.

Details

Integral Ecology and Sustainable Business
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-463-7

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Book part
Publication date: 31 May 2016

Kellee Caton

This chapter explores the potential for and value of imagining a humanist paradigm for tourism studies. It explores how the idea of a “paradigm” in tourism can be…

Abstract

This chapter explores the potential for and value of imagining a humanist paradigm for tourism studies. It explores how the idea of a “paradigm” in tourism can be conceptualized, arguing that dominant thoughtlines in other fields regarding the meaning of a paradigm are not sufficient for making sense of this idea in the context of tourism studies. The chapter introduces humanism as a philosophical position in the academy and as a lived cultural practice, explores examples of extant work in tourism studies that might be seen to provide the seeds of a humanist paradigm, and offers reflections on the value of imagining such a paradigm for our field.

Details

Tourism Research Paradigms: Critical and Emergent Knowledges
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78350-929-4

Keywords

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