Re-animalising Wellbeing: Multispecies Justice After Development

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This article addresses contemporary socio-ecological crises by proposing a shift from the logics of protection–sacrifice that characterise developmentality, and by developing the idea of ‘re-animalisation’ as a pathway to multispecies justice. The pursuit of ‘development’ has been a key hallmark of the modern idea of progress. Long-standing critiques of the socio-ecological and other adverse impacts of development have not made much headway in effecting meaningful change. Engaging with this impasse, I argue that specific zoöpolitical notions of human wellbeing that are co-constitutive with developmentality are at the foundation of today’s socio-ecological troubles and multispecies justice concerns. Bringing together post-development and animal studies scholarship, I discuss the twinned logics of protection–sacrifice that underlie the pursuit of human wellbeing at societal scales, and that have come to characterise more-than-human responses as well. I build on this, in conversation with environmental philosopher Val Plumwood and degrowth scholar Giorgos Kallis, to suggest that achieving multispecies justice requires a renewed focus on the human in the form of a fundamental re-placement of the social in the rest of the nature. To this end, I offer thought experiments on re-visioning wellbeing via an approach of ‘re-animalisation’ to provoke reflection on crafting new foundations for equitable multispecies presents and futures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Sociological Review
Early online date9 Apr 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Apr 2022


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