Chris Philo's Theory Of Animal Resistance

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In terms of critical work, one of the earliest works looking at animal resistance is Chris Philo’s 1994 article “Animals, Geography, and the City: Notes on Inclusions and Exclusions.” In the article, Philo cites the “difficult theoretical issues” surrounding the assertion that nonhuman animals have the potential for “resistance,” stating, it borders on attributing “agency” and “intentionality” to animals in a manner normally only reserved for human beings … and also because it raises questions as to whether it is appropriate to conceive of transgression or resistance occurring in a situation where the parties involved—in this case animals and humans—seemingly cannot even begin to share the same systems of (political) meaning. Furthermore,…show more content…
A Study of Foucault, Power, and Human/Animal Relationships,” Clare Palmer applies Foucault’s analysis of power and resistance to nonhuman animals and rejects Philo’s assertion that animal resistance is merely transgression. Palmer figures animal/human relations as “consisting of multiple individual micro-situations in a variety of environments where animals may respond unpredictably, resist human power, and even exercise power themselves” (352). Thus, Palmer asserts that nonhuman animals, when within a power relationship, can and do resist, albeit in situations where they are free to react; in situations where reaction is not possible or permitted, such as the extreme confinement of battery cages or stunning boxes, “the being is treated in this context as a thing—an object to which things are done” (354). Although Palmer’s analysis provides powerful insight into the intricacies of applying concepts of power relations and resistance to nonhuman animals, Palmer’s argument, as she herself notes, does not come to an ethical conclusion regarding the power relations between humans and nonhuman animals who resist (358). In order to explore the role of animal resistance in the ALM and develop new ways of relating to nonhuman human animals, such an ethical conclusion is…show more content…
In response to the ongoing debate over whether fish can feel pain, CAS scholar Dinesh Wadiwel’s article “Do Fish Resist?” examines instead whether fish can be seen to resist. According to Wadiwel, this question offers “a different model for considering political agency,” one that proposes a form of political agency not rooted in sentience or the capacity to suffer (200). Wadiwel concludes that fish do in fact resist to the systems of violence imposed upon them. With that assertion, Wadiwel proposes a different epistemological framework that, by acknowledging fish resistance, views fish as “co-creators (often unwilling co-creators) of the world we live in” (221). Other CAS scholars such as Jonathan L. Clark, in his article “Labourers or Lab Tools? Rethinking the Role of Lab Animals in Clinical Trials,” and Agnieszka Kowalczyk, in her article “Mapping Non-Human Resistance in the Age of Biocapital,” likewise take up the question of animal resistance, both concerning themselves with Foucault’s theories of power relations as well as Marxist approaches. While Wadiwel, Clark, and Kowalczyk all offer insightful and compelling analyses of animal resistance, they only arrive at edge of discussing what animal resistance would mean to the ALM, leaving a gap regarding how acknowledging animal resistance could profoundly alter the animal liberation project moving

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