Animals (Dec 2010)

An Inclusive Re-Engagement with our Nonhuman Animal Kin: Considering Human Interrelationships with Nonhuman Animals

  • Rod Bennison

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 1, no. 1
pp. 40 – 55


Read online

As humans increasingly acknowledge the effects that they are having on the planet, there is a realisation implicit in these effects that human interrelationships with nature are actually arbitrated and expedited exploitatively. Understanding how the different discourses and histories through which the interrelationships with nature are mediated and actually told and then retold is fundamental to appreciating how humans may relate with nature less exploitatively and in ways that are more inclusionary, particularly with nonhuman animals. Humans perceive nature and individual nonhuman animals in various ways. This paper provides an investigation of how humans have socially constructed nature and their place as either within or outside of it. Such constructions are elaborated conceptually and through narrative. More pertinently, this paper examines how nature and nonhuman animals are perceived and placed within those narratives that humans construct from reality. It is stressed here that such constructions have, and may continue, to lead to a worsening of the effects that humans have on the planet if there is no acceptance or recognition that certain realities exist beyond the exploitative bounds of any human-inspired concept or narrative. This paper therefore provides the groundwork for the foundations of an ethic that is both socially and ecologically inclusive and is based on a soft realist approach.