Anti-speciesist theory and action: dismantling the (hu)man

Trzak, Agnes (2015) Anti-speciesist theory and action: dismantling the (hu)man. Doctoral thesis, Anglia Ruskin University.

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I explore opportunities for political activism from a feminist antispeciesist perspective. I reconcile the two often separated fields of academia and activism by examining theoretical conceptualisations of political action and their application to lived realities. I specifically focus on depicting processes of objectification utilised by the dominant culture. I offer a feminist critique of normative discourses regarding political action and countercultural organising, that are based on our understanding of the Public Sphere as an arena of rationality, debate, diplomacy and equality.I expose public sphere discourse as a means of reproducing dominant processes of objectification and othering. In other words, I argue that our understanding of political action in fact contributes to the hierarchical categorisation of all life and thus the exclusion of the minoritarian from political action. This is due to the fact that our understanding of the political is utterly based on an anthropocentric masculinist, or what I term (hu)man world view. To allow for a truly nonhierarchical and just sociopolitical economy, I urge not only to include human identity dimensions such as gender, disability, race and class in our political thinking, but also to extend our consideration to other species, and thus make our resistance not only a feminist, antiracist, anticlassist and antiableist one but also an antispeciesist one. I do so by exploring Patricia MacCormack's conceptualisation of the ahumanÍž a state of divorcing resistance to normativity from a focus on the oppressed and shifting towards a definition and dismantling of the privileged, (hu)man. I arrive at this conclusion by exploring possibilities of emancipation, which, I argue, are found in dismantling the majoritarian subject instead of actively improving the minoritarian position. I thus suggest to move away from a phallogocentric humanist system of signification, based on representation and instead work towards the undoing of (hu)man texts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Keywords: animal rights, feminism, veganism, activism, public sphere
Faculty: Theses from Anglia Ruskin University
Depositing User: Melissa Campey
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2016 09:44
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 19:01

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