Livia Boscardin: "Our Common Future" - Developing a Non-Speciesist, Critical Theory of Sustainability

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The audio for this presentation is available at: https://archive.org/details/LiviaBoscardin.OurCommonFutureDevelopingANonSpeciesistCriticalTheoryOfSustainability

This talk (by Livia Boscardin) was given at The Institute for Critical Animal Studies Oceania 2013 Conference: Animal Liberation and Social Justice - an Intersectional Approach to Social Change.


You can find out more about this conference here: http://icasoceania.wordpress.com/2013/06/22/conference-schedule/

You can hear other talks from this conference on episode 32 of Progressive Podcast Australia: http://progressivepodcastaustralia.com/2013/07/12/cas/

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Livia Boscardin: "Our Common Future" - Developing a Non-Speciesist, Critical Theory of Sustainability

  1. 1. «Our Common Future» – Developing a Non-Speciesist, Critical Theory of Sustainability Livia Boscardin Animal Liberation and Social Justice an intersectional approach to social change Institute for Critical Animal Studies Oceania 6 July 2013 University of Canberra, Australia
  2. 2. Brundtland-Report «Our Common Future» 1987 “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). 1987. Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. Transmitted to the General Assembly as an Annex to document A/42/427 - Development and International Co-operation: Environment.
  3. 3. Critical Theory Sustainable Development Animals
  4. 4. Structure 1. Critical Theory & Animals 2. SD & Animals 3. SD & Animals & Critical Theory
  5. 5. Critical Theory
  6. 6. Critical Theory of the early Frankfurt School (Germany) • Theodor Adorno (1903-1969), Max Horkheimer (1895-1973), Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) • Frankfurt Institute for Social Research 1923 1. Anticapitalists 2. Antifascists 3. Marxist political ecologists 4. Animal rights activitsts
  7. 7. Critical Theory Animals
  8. 8. Critical Theory & animals Marcuse Horkheimer & Adorno • Domination of human nature and nonhuman nature (nature and other animals) = intertwined “Below the spaces where the coolies of the earth perish by the millions, the indescribable, unimaginable suffering of the animals, the animal hell in human society, would have to be depicted, the sweat, blood, despair of the animals. *…+ The basement of that house is a slaughterhouse *…+.” (Horkheimer, 1978: 66-67)
  9. 9. • Empathy and solidarity towards animals • In pain, “man and man, man and animal” are the same (Horkheimer 1992, 298) • We should feel as “their natural advocate, like the happy liberated prisoner towards his fellows in misery, that are still captivated ” (Horkheimer 1934, 2) • Hegemonic subject = independent from nature, cultural being, not “an animal ” “Throughout European history the idea of the human being has been expressed in contradistinction to the animal”. (Horkheimer & Adorno, Dialectics of Enlightenment) Critical Theory & animals
  10. 10. Sustainable Development
  11. 11. Eco-development, 1970s N = Natural Environment = ecological S H = Human Activities = social S E = Economic Activities = economic S - social justice - self-reliance  too radical
  12. 12. Brundtland-Report «Our Common Future» 1987 “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). 1987. Our Common Future: Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development. Transmitted to the General Assembly as an Annex to document A/42/427 - Development and International Co-operation: Environment. • Poverty = source of the environmental crisis • Growth has to be sustained
  13. 13. Mainstream image of SD N = Natural Environment = ecological S H = Human Activities = social S E = Economic Activities = economic S SD = Sustainable Development
  14. 14. Green economy / green growth / green jobs…
  15. 15. Sustainable Development Animals
  16. 16. SD & Animals • Animal rights ignored • Environmental impact of the consumption of animal exploitation products: 51% of GHG emissions • The only representation of nonhuman animals= dead, dismembered bodies
  17. 17. Steinfeld, Henning, Pierre Gerber, Tom Wassenaar, Vincent Castel, Mauricio Rosales, and Cees de Haan. 2006. “Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options.” http://www.fao.org/docrep/ 010/a0701e/a0701e00.HTM.
  18. 18. Solutions to reduce environmental impact of the consumption of animal exploitation products • Abolish animal-industrial complex • Increased efficiency & technological enhancement • Intensification and reduction of GHG emissions, through: a) Environmental nutrition: “This can be achieved by *…+ synchronizing nutrients and mineral inputs to the animals requirement *…+, which reduce the quantity of manure excreted per unit of feed and per unit of product” (Livestock’s Long Shadow, p. 171). b) Genetic engineering of the animal / her food (Clark 2012: “environmental violence”)
  19. 19. Sustainable Development Animals Critical Theory
  20. 20. New forms of domination in times of environmental crisis • Domination of nature: nature = natural capital, green growth • Domination of animals: Animal-industrial complex, environmental violence, scapegoats • Domination of human animals: meat=masculinity, sociocultural/economic imperialism, «environmental racism» • Technological fix = negation of being animals as well  Domination of human and nonhuman nature is intertwined
  21. 21. Hegemonic masculinity & meat «Tofu is gay meat»
  22. 22. New forms of domination in times of environmental crisis • Domination of nature: nature = natural capital, green growth • Domination of animals: Animal-industrial complex, environmental violence, scapegoats • Domination of human animals: meat=masculinity, sociocultural/economic imperialism, «environmental racism» • Technological fix = negation of being animals as well  Domination of human and nonhuman nature is intertwined
  23. 23. Thank you for your attention livia.boscardin@unibas.ch

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