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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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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2020

Michelle Westerlaken

This paper articulates a counter-concept to the notion of speciesism with the aim to encourage thinking beyond critique, towards imagining what non-speciesist worlds can…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper articulates a counter-concept to the notion of speciesism with the aim to encourage thinking beyond critique, towards imagining what non-speciesist worlds can actually look like.

Design/methodology/approach

By using the concept of “multi-species-isms” (or “multispecies”, as a simpler adjective), and linking it to feminist and relational ethics of “care”, the paper seeks to unite perspectives from both Critical Animal Studies as well as feminist, posthumanist theories. Already existing traces of multi-species-isms that exemplify different forms of multispecies care are visualised through annotated illustrations that accompany the text. These traces offer a cue for negotiating multispecies worlds without attempting to define their content in all too definite forms.

Findings

Rather than focusing on critiquing oppressive structures, the paper contributes narratives of multispecies worlds that inspire further imagination towards the positive ingredients of such worlds and show more concretely how multispecies care is practised in everyday life.

Social implications

These insights frame a starting point for a repertoire that shows the numerous ways in which multispecies relationships between humans and other animals are already given form.

Originality/value

By articulating the actual ingredients of multi-species-isms, rather than focusing on what they are not, the paper seeks to advance a move towards adding multispecies possibilities that can be especially helpful for those researchers, designers and activists concerned with imagining alternative futures.

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: 30 November 2020

Paula Brügger

From an interdisciplinary position, I discuss the historical and epistemological roots of the objectification and commodification of nature, which emerged from the…

Abstract

From an interdisciplinary position, I discuss the historical and epistemological roots of the objectification and commodification of nature, which emerged from the hegemony of instrumental rationality. This rationality—synthetically, a technological, political, social, ethical, and esthetical universe of thought and action—has created both wealth and environmental destruction due to the progressive domination of nature through science and technology. The objectification of nature and nonhuman animals is associated with the legacy of René Descartes based on some excerpts of his famous Discourse on the Method in which the idea of animals as machines established a powerful and pervasive metaphor that remains today. Speciesism, which involves forms of discrimination practiced by humans against other animal species, also dominates Western perspectives. However, studies reveal that nonhuman animal sentience and conscience is a scientific fact. While there is no ethical or scientific ground to support speciesism, the colossal number of animals commodified in a myriad of contexts, especially in animal agriculture, proves that our society is very far from overcoming this issue. A possible path to change is education. Nevertheless, profound transformations are mandatory as formal education—even “environmental education”—carries in its philosophical foundations the Cartesian, instrumental paradigm that favors the objectification and commodification of nature. I present how the concept of instrumental rationality, especially as proposed by Herbert Marcuse, establishes as a unifying and solid ground to address the roots of the objectification and commodification of nature (including nonhuman animals), as well as to confront the epistemological bedrock of our speciesist nonenvironmental, traditional education.

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Book part
Publication date: 10 October 2019

David Rodríguez Goyes

In this chapter, I provide the conceptual and political pillars of a Southern green criminology. First, I define the concepts central to this book: ecological…

Abstract

Summary

In this chapter, I provide the conceptual and political pillars of a Southern green criminology. First, I define the concepts central to this book: ecological discrimination, a science to end discrimination and a science of the discriminated against. Second, I reflect on two expressions of ecological discrimination: speciesism and culturism. Building on those reflections, I provide the political and moral reasons why it is important to develop a science to end ecological discrimination.

Details

Southern Green Criminology: A Science to End Ecological Discrimination
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-230-5

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Article
Publication date: 13 August 2020

Emma Fletcher-Barnes

This paper explores the life cycle of a captive bred lion in South Africa, focusing on the distinction between captive bred and wild individuals. Lions are bred in captive…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores the life cycle of a captive bred lion in South Africa, focusing on the distinction between captive bred and wild individuals. Lions are bred in captive breeding facilities across the country to provide cubs and teenagers for ecotourism, and following this, hunting “trophies.” A distinction is made between the “wild” and “captive” lion, a categorization that I argue legitimizes violent and unethical treatment toward those bred specifically to be cuddled and killed. This analysis explores how the lion is remade or modified from wild to commodity and the repercussions this has had throughout the wildlife security assemblage.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on ethnographic research carried out in South Africa during 2016 that involved conducting informal and semi-structured interviews with activists, breeders, wildlife security personnel and conservationists drawing out the interspecies relations that influenced the encounters between humans and wildlife.

Findings

Dominant conservation narratives continue to understand and interpret wildlife solely as a commodity or profitable resource, which has led to the normalization of unethical and cruel practices that implicate wildlife in their own security and sustenance through their role in ecotourism, hunting and more recently, the lion bone trade. Captive bred lions are treated as products that undergo a series of translations through which they are exposed to violence and exploitation operationalized through practices linked to conservation and ecotourism.

Originality/value

Through posthuman thinking, this paper contributes to debates on the interspecies dimensions of politics through challenging the dominant assumptions that govern conservation and the interspecies encounter.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2003

David Nibert

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…

Abstract

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.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 23 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 17 December 2009

Chaone Mallory

Following particular feminisms that theorise the body as a place where the regulatory practices of racism, classism, sexism and speciesism are ‘inscripted’ or…

Abstract

Following particular feminisms that theorise the body as a place where the regulatory practices of racism, classism, sexism and speciesism are ‘inscripted’ or ‘sedimented’, but also understand the body as a site of resistance, a place where oppressive practices can be transgressed and transformed, this chapter explores the relation between ecofeminist theories of oppression, the notion of gender and species performativity and environmental activisms. Ecofeminist philosopher Deborah Slicer has argued that it is not only the human body that is capable of resistance through altering the performances around which identity is congealed but nature too has agency, is a player in processes of disruption and resignification. Ecopolitical theorist Catriona Sandilands has written about the ‘chain of equivalencies’ that discursively and materially link women, nature, people of colour, the differently-abled, queer folk and so on and has pondered how ‘a politics of performative affinity’ can help to emancipate both humans and the more-than-human world. Taking this brand of ecofeminist ecopolitical theorising as my starting point, I explore the role of environmental and feminist activisms, focusing on two instances of direct action, one from the US radical forest defence movement and one from the 1999 anti-World Trade Organisation (WTO) protests in Seattle, in disrupting hegemonic notions of who or what counts as a political subject and actor. Such actions, I argue, open spaces for subaltern voices, including non-human ones, to be heard. By considering the liberatory political possibilities of viewing species identity performatively, that is, as something that creatures, especially the human critter (to use the vernacular of the US forest defence movement) does rather than is, I suggest that activisms in all their variety are political sites where meaning is made and ecosocial relations configured, in ways that have material consequences for people and other beings of the earth.

Details

The Transition to Sustainable Living and Practice
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-641-0

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Book part
Publication date: 10 October 2019

David Rodríguez Goyes

In this chapter, I present the methodological pillar of a Southern green criminology. It may prove useful for researchers and students interested in developing a science…

Abstract

Summary

In this chapter, I present the methodological pillar of a Southern green criminology. It may prove useful for researchers and students interested in developing a science to end the ecological discrimination. My main concern in presenting this method is to upset the colonialist logic that sustains culturism and speciesism. In my ‘stereoscope’ of ecological discrimination, I aim to uncover harmful environmental practices that have a global reach and disproportionately affect the geographical and metaphorical Souths.

Content available
Book part
Publication date: 30 November 2020

Abstract

Details

The Capitalist Commodification of Animals
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83982-681-8

Content available
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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