Imagining Non-Speciesism

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Imagining Non-Speciesism

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Title Imagining Non-Speciesism
Author Westerlaken, Michelle
Date 2018
English abstract
What will a world that rejects speciesism (oppression and exploitation on the grounds of belonging to a certain species (Singer, 2009/1975)) be like? How will we understand ourselves in relation to other animals in this world? How will we engage with one another in such a society? What kind of animal encounters can still take place? These are fundamental questions to thinkwith in the attempt to imagine a world that does not regard other animals as lesser beings. However, in our current frameworks for thinking about speciesism, we mainly know what we do not want. It remains challenging to envision what the alternatives actually look like or how they can be described. The language we have, to articulate our thoughts about oppression in general, is often focused on the systems we wish to counter or reject: words like non-speciesism, postcolonialism, post-humanism, or post-capitalism. It is important to give problems a name in order to recognize them as problems (Ahmed, 2017). However, this is also where we encounter the limits of our thinking-with these kinds of words. We come up against something we cannot resolve, because we do not use a framework for thinking beyond the problems we encounter. Following a feminist design theory perspective, in this talk I will use the term ‘multispeciesism’ to articulate a ‘worldview’ (Redström, 2017) (or a ‘concept’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 1994/1991)) that we can philosophize with and appropriate to actively design alternative less-speciesist futures. I attempt to articulate this ‘multispeciesist worldview’ further by curating stories of our engagements and encounters with animals that are just big enough to inspire alternative ways of thinking but do not attempt to explain or define our relationships with other beings once and for all. They consist of stories of surprises, joy, play, and unexpected responses we get from interacting with other animals (Haraway, 2016), they involve intense moments of caring for other species (Puig de La Bellacasa, 2017), they consist of deliberate practices of self-fashioning and restructuring our lives (Foucault, 1988; Gibson-Graham, 2008), and they encompass constructions of hopeful or possible utopian narratives (Le Guin, 2016; Zylinska, 2014). Ideas of alternative futures do not arise out of nowhere: they are inscribed in the present (Berardi, 2017). I suggest that by collecting and curating a collection of less-speciesist instances that we share with other animals we can actively construct the raw material that can inspire alternative futures.
Conference
Rethinking Animality Conference (September 26-28 : Santiago de Compostela, Spain)
Pages 4
Language eng (iso)
Subject speciesism
design
alternative futures
animals
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/28045 Permalink to this page
Link https://sites.google.com/view/rethinkinganimality/... (external link to related web page)
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