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Political animals? On animals as subjects in an enlarged political geography

Authors
Journal
Political Geography
0962-6298
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
26
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2006.10.010
Keywords
  • Hybrid Geographies
  • Political Ecology
  • Animal Welfare
  • Hong Kong
  • Mainland China
Disciplines
  • Ecology
  • Political Science

Abstract

Abstract This paper is positioned within on-going debates about the expansion and re-theorization of political geography's ambit. It argues that animals could and should be included as subjects within sub-disciplinary research. Whilst political ecologists regularly employ animal conservation case studies to detail the complexities of struggles over resource distributions, this work often frames animals as static components of a thoroughly human sociality. This paper draws on conceptual debates within cultural geography, in particular those pertaining to ‘animal’ and ‘hybrid’ geographies. It argues that animals be viewed as dynamic beings, inextricable to political processes, and integral to the formation and operation of the political networks that regulate, protect and exploit them. This assertion is elaborated here through discussions of recent campaigns to end bear bile farming in East Asia, in particular, the work of the Hong Kong-based charity Animals Asia Foundation. This example aims to illuminate the potential strengths and limitations of arguing through a ‘hybrid geography’ lens, and aims to stimulate further debate around the standing of animals within an enlarged and enlarging political geography.

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