Dissertation Defense: Eva Meijer - Political Animal Voices
Supervisors Yolande Jansen and Robin Celikates
In this thesis, I develop a theory of political animal voices. The first part of the thesis focuses on non-human animal languages and forming interspecies worlds. I first investigate the relation between viewing language as exclusively human and seeing humans as categorically different from other animals. I then discuss recent empirical research into non-human animal languages and cultures, and develop an alternative way of thinking about language. I also investigate human/non-human animal languages, and the relation between developing a common language and creating common interspecies worlds.
The second part of the thesis turns the focus to animal politics. I draw on insights developed in the recent political turn in animal ethics, and specifically focus on political non-human animal agency. I criticise anthropocentric interpretations of politics from the perspective of justice and from the perspective of power relations, and I investigate the potential of the different concepts that are used to interpret and govern political relations between human groups for thinking about political relations between humans and other animals.
In the third and final part of the thesis I focus on the relation between political animal acts and existing human political practices and institutions. I investigate how other animals already act politically, and how their agency can be fostered and strengthened. I also discuss how these acts can function as the beginning of new forms of political interaction with other animals.