Guest Editors' Introduction
Through the Geographical Looking Glass: Space,
Place, and Society-Animal Relations
UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
As geographers interested in human-animal relations, a recent paper in Society &
Animals immediately caught our eye on account of its main title, "Safe in Unsafe
Places" (Gillespie, Leffler & Lemer, 1996). The study explores how human
interactions in certain types of places are altered by the presence of dogs popularly
perceived to be aggressive. Adopting a participant observation role as dog enthu-
siasts travelling around the country attending dog shows with their own Rottwei ler
dogs, the authors uncover a range of shifting relations involving people, dogs and
spatial-temporal settings. For instance, spaces normally seen as threatening or
"unsafe" (such as a beach late at night) became much safer with the Rottweilers
present. Conversely, spaces normally assumed to be "safe" (such as a village during
the day) suddenly became unsafe because the big dogs prompted unpredictable
reactions from other humans and also from other animals (leading to the possibility
of pre-emptive strikes against both the researchers and their dogs). The researchers
offered the following conclusions:
Thus our experience of travel with dogs problematized our ordinary
conceptualizations of safe and unsafe places, situations and times; of
public and private space .... The taken-for-granted boundaries between
social spheres in daily life are ordinarily borderlines we treat as if they were
impermeable and unchanging .... Work and leisure; public and private;
and, most relevant for this paper, safe and unsafe places, times, and people
are seen as immutable antipodes. In fact, of course, they blur, harden, and
shift in the give and take of everyday life. (Gillespie, Leffler & Lerner,
1996, pp. 179, 185-186)
In this special theme issue, we wish to expand upon such intriguing discussions
about space, place, and human-animal relations. Specifically, our purpose is to
introduce the work of academic geographers interested in animals to a wider
readership beyond the discipline of geography itself, and demonstrate the value of
a geographical perspective to research on society-animal relations. In order to place
such work in proper context, this introduction has two main components. First, we
outline the history and character of academic geographical interest in animals; and
secondly, we discuss some of the basic concepts, notably "place" and "space,"
which geographers deploy when studying all manner of phenomena, animals
included. Against this backdrop, we preview the specific contributions comprising
Geography and the Study of Animals
Although never prominent in the discipline, academic geographers have long
shown some interest in nonhuman animals. A glance through recent geographical
journals reveals papers on regional patterns of koala habitat in Australia (Bryan.
1997), hog farming in North Carolina (Furuseth, 1997), horse-breeding in the
Hunter Valley, Australia (Robinson, 1996), late 19th century controversy over seal
hunting in the Bering Sea (Castree, 1997), and tourist-wildlife interaction (Orams,
1996). This interest in animals is long-standing. Turn-of-the century geographical
journals offered a not dissimilar range of topics, including papers on "the geogra-
phy of mammals" (Sclater, 1894a, 1894b, 1895, 1896a, 1896b, 1897a, 1897b) as
well as, oddly enough, pieces on aquatic plants and animals by Guppy ( 1893), bird
migration by Eagle Clarke ( 1896) and the distribution and habits of whales by
M6bius ( 1894)!
Moreover, an identifiable branch of the discipline known as "animal geogra-
phy" dates at least from Newbigin's s 1913 text Animal Geography. Animal
geography was also accorded a role in Hartshorne's classic 1939 survey The Nature
of Geography, as one of the "systematic" subfields of the discipline (along with
climate, soils, plants, topography, etc.) allied outside the field to the "systematic
science" of zoology. According to Hartshorne, research from the various system-
atic physical and human geographic subfields allowed the elucidation of "areal
differentiation" or regional geographies serving to distinguish different areas or
regions of the earth's surface.
Despite assessments of the status of animal geography from the 1940s through
to the 1960s (Bennett, 1961; Cansdale, 1949; Davies, 1961; Stuart, 1954), by the
1970s animal geography had all but disappeared from the discipline. Recently,
however, a new animal geography - almost exclusively conceptualized as part of
human ratherthan physical geography-has appeared, and revived the subspeciality.
In order to unpack the dynamics underlying this change in direction and subsequent
reinvigoration, we distinguish between the two chief lines of research conducted
over the years under the heading of animal geography: zo6geography and cultural
Writing in 1949 for a popular geographical magazine, Cansdale noted that:
One of the most fascinating aspects of natural history is animal geography
- the why and wherefore of animal distribution .... In the thrush family, for
instance, why do the blackbird, the song thrush and the mistle thrush stay
here [in Britain] for most of the time and nest in our gardens and coppices
while the redwing and fieldfare go far north to breed? And why does the
blackbird's close relative the ring ouzel lead a fully migratory life and
make its summer home in the moors and fells? These are small, rather local
questions in animal ecology, but there are other and much wider problems.
( 1949, p.108)
Animal geography was here cast as the study of animal distributions, asking about
where different types of animals are to be found, whether at local or continental
scales, and the environmental correlates of these distributions. The majority of
work referred to as animal geography has been of this sort, from Sclater ( I 894 ef
seq.), who sought to delimit the six main terrestrial regions of mammalian life, to
recent papers published in the Journal of Biogeography. This work, based on
conventional scientific research methods and models, was initially and remains
strongly linked with the cognate scientific disciplines of zoology and (more widely) >
ecology and biology. Early on, for example, Clark asserted in a review of
"geography and zoology" that "there must be a much closer correlation between
biology and geography than has hitherto been suspected" (1927, p. 102), while
Cansdale expressly regarded animal geography as "but one aspect of animal
ecology" (1949, p. 109). Moreover many of the practitioners of this approach to
animal geography would not warrant (or desire) the formal disciplinary designation
of "geographer," since many of them arrived at their studies from disciplinary
backgrounds outside of geography. Although they produced geographies, "[m]ost
zo6geographers were originally trained as systematic zoologists, paleontologists or
ecologists" (Stuart, 1954, p. 443), leading Davies to reflect that "[a]nimal geography
is perhaps the branch of geography least practised by geographers, and the one they
most cheerfully abandon to the systematic sciences" ( 1961, p.412). Even now. few
geographers contribute zo6geographical studies to the Journal of Biogeography.
We argue that the natural-scientific bent of this zo6geographical version of
animal geography conspired to leave it saying little about animal interactions with
human society. Rather, it became embedded within a scientific physical geography
looking to ascertain "natural" correlations and causations apart from the distur-
bances occasioned by human influence. This is not entirely the case; some earlier
writings did reflect on "what all this complex distribution of animal life has meant
and still means to [humans]" (Thomson, 1905, p. 118), and explored the relations
between animals and humans in terms of "competition, conflict, domestication and
biological control" (Cansdale, 1950, 1951a, 1951 b, 1951 c, 1951 d, 1952). Simi-
larly, in more recent biogeographical papers the human influence is occasionally
assessed (Carter, 1997, p. 153). Nonetheless, the consideration given to society-
animal relations in such work is patchy. The human dimension is introduced as an
unwanted and alien intrusion, which remains wholly untheorized. At the same time
the animals themselves tend to be regarded with a detached scientific eye as things
utterly unlike humans. Cast as purely natural objects to be tracked, trapped.
counted, mapped and modeled, they are assumed devoid of any "inner life," any
form of experience, consciousness or sociability, which might be worth taking
Cultural Animal Geography
As late as the 1960s, zoogeography was "usually considered... too remote from the
central problems of human geography" (Davies, 1961, p. 412), but an interest in
animals has not always been totally divorced from the more human end of the
discipline. Bennett offered the following observation:
The author wishes here to propose [another] approach to the study of
animal geography, an approach that is certain to be a rewarding area of
research for geographers even though they are equipped with only a
modest background in the biological sciences. The proposed field could
well be termed cultural animal geography, for it would encompass those
aspects of animal geography which accumulate, analyze and systematize
data relevant to the interactions of animals and human cultures. ( 1960,
p. 13; emphasis in original)
Bennett raised the possibility of research on human-animal interactions, demonstrating
how humans have exerted an influence upon animal "numbers and distributions" and
examining how animals respond to processes of domestication, practices of subsist-
ence hunting and fishing, and also more indirect human impacts such as fire, war, and
travel. In addition, he argued fora focus on how animals influence dimensions of human
life (destroying crops or carrying disease), and on their role as key elements of the
natural environment which "determine" the character of a region's human geography
(the settlement, agriculture, and industry).
Bennett's proposals effectively dovetailed with Sauer's approach to under-
standing the cultural landscape, set forth in Seeds, Spades, Hearths and Herds
( 1952), which documented the role of animal domestication in the conversion of
natural into cultural landscapes. Sauer's Berkeley School of cultural geography.
which dominated much of North American geography during the first half of the
20th century, inspired such work as Isaac's (1970) study of the geography of
domestication and the Simoonses' ( 1968) research on the ceremonial uses of the ox
in India. A noteworthy aspect of this approach has been its resistance to a simplistic
economic explanation of society-animal relations, and the recognition of non-
economic roles of animals in human societies (as companion animals or for use in
religious ceremonies; Donkin, 1991, p. ix; Donkin, 1985, 1989). While this stress
on the non-economic origins of animal domestication has itself been criticized
(Rodrigues, 1992, p. 366), what matters here is the contemplation of an enlarged
cultural realm in which animals are more than the "resources" studied by
zoogeographers or the units of production investigated by agricultural geogra-
phers. This conceptual space opened the way for the utilization of animals by
human society to be scrutinized by geographers as something other than natural and
unproblematic (Yarwood, Evans & Higginbottom, 1997, p. 17).
In recent years there has been a definite revival of interest in animal geography,
one securely anchored in the orbit of human geography. This new turn has been
inspired by the encounter between human geography and a range of new conceptual
notions derived from political economy, social theory, cultural studies, feminism.
post-colonial critique, psychoanalysis, and anthropology, as well as a partial
retrieval of older Sauerian traditions. This "new" cultural animal geography
reflects upon situations where people and animals coexist in particular sites and
territories, and ponders the social interactions between the people and certain non-
human groupings in the vicinity.
For example, Wolch, West and Gaines propose a "transspecies urban theory"
alert to the realities of a city built to accommodate not only humans but also "a
shadow population of non-humans spanning the phylogenetic scale" ( 1995, p.
736). It is this theoretical window which also informs Wolch, Gullo and Lassiter's «
( 1997) analysis of changing attitudes toward cougars in California. In a similar
vein, Philo ( 1995) inquires into the plight of livestock animals directed by humans
into the live meat markets and slaughterhouses of 19th century London. Such
studies point to how particular human societies wish to exclude certain types of
animals from their homes and neighborhoods (because they are regarded as "wild."
"unclean," "unhygienic") while choosing to include other types of animals (be-
cause they are regarded as "tame," "clean," or "charismatic").
If Philo and Wolch stress the exclusions in their work, Tuan ( l 984) traces the
inclusions-embedded within inherently unequal and "paternalist" power relations
- entailed in the keeping of pets within the domestic milieux of human society. Such
work also signals the more symbolic dimensions of the encounter between humans
and animals. Animals in general (as well as specific species) often become coded
as dirty and polluting, thus feeding a common impulse to exclude them from the
realm of everyday human life. Such codings become intimately bound up in the
identity politics of human groups, in that metaphors and images of animality, of the
bestial and the savage, are often deployed by mainstream society to represent those
regarded as marginal, misfit or deviant. Sibley develops this theme when consid-
ering the socio-spatial exclusions endured by "outsiders" such as European
Gypsies and other ethnic minorities, and he writes that "[t]o dehumanize through
claiming animal attributes for others is one way of legitimating exploitation and
exclusion from civilized society" (1995, p. 27). Emel (1995) has excavated the
cross-currents running between representations of the wolf in the United States.
ensnared in connotations of the wild, darkness or evil, and representations of
The chief claim we make at this point is that a new cultural animal geography
has emerged within the discipline. This emergence is marked by a recent theme
issue of the journal Society and Space (Wolch & Emel, 1995), by forthcoming
books on animal geography (Wolch & Emel, 1998), and by the running of specialist
sessions at professional geography conferences in both the United Kingdom and the
Some Basic Geographical Concepts and Animal Geography
What possibilities arise from adopting a geographical perspective in researching
animals and society-animal relations? To address this question, we sketch the basic
concepts which frame Anglo-American geographic research, and then suggest how
they can illuminate the "animal question."
Space, Distribution and Location
Philosophers' perennial disagreements over the nature of space have led to different
ways of understanding space within academic geography (Gregory, 1994 ; Pickles,
1985; Sack, 1980). For many geographers, however, space is a relative concept.
referring to relations between phenomena distributed across a range of identifiably
different locations. Such phenomena might be features of the natural world such as
mountains and forests, or features of the human world such as settlements and
factories. At base, the relations between these phenomena, spatial relations, are
conceived of in terms of proximity and distance, direction of one from others, and
connective travel routes. Such an understanding can lead to highly geometric
conceptions of space and abstract notions of spatial relations, suggesting the
existence of fundamental spatial laws governing the distribution and location of
many different kinds of phenomena both natural and human. In the search to
discover such spatial laws, some geographers have looked for quantifiable corre-
lations between spatial patterns (on maps) displayed by different variables thought
to be causally related (say, fertile land and rural settlement).
Such a spatial science approach to geographical inquiry became influential
during the 1950s and 1960s in reaction to the regional geography of Hartshorne
(Cloke, Philo & Sadler, 1991), but soon earned serious criticism from Marxist,
feminist, and humanist geographers. Continuing to probe human spatial relations.
but with a more qualitative eye, such geographers have focused on how these
relations are themselves indelibly embedded within a maze of economic, political,
social, and cultural processes, forces, and structures (Gregory & Urry, 1985). Using
various theoretical lenses, spatial relations between wealthy "cores" and impover-
ished "peripheries," for example, have been explained as manifestations of capital-
ism's tendency to geographically uneven development (Smith, 1990). At the
metropolitan scale, spatial relations between central cities and suburbs have been
understood as structured in part by patriarchal gender divisions of urban space
(McDowell, 1983). Even spatial relations between self and other, or us and them.
have been seen as integral to how personal identities (situated "here") are built up
in mirror-image to the often negative projections of attributes placed on others
(over "there"; Sibley, 1995).
Animal geographers (especially zo6geographers) have often incorporated
notions of space, spatial patterns, and spatial relations into the heart of their
research, as revealed in maps of lairs, nests, flocks, herds, colonies and even
migration tracks of particular species. Such mapping, frequently linked to quanti-
tative techniques such as point pattern analysis, typically strive to correlate animal
distributions with patterns of climatic variation, geologic formations, and vegeta-
tive cover, in a search for general zoogeographical laws of how animals (individu-
als and species) arrange themselves across the earth's surface.
Work undertaken by cultural animal geographers has focused on space, but not
in the conventional scientific sense of searching for spatial laws. Indeed, of key
concern are spatial relations between people and animals, thought of in terms of
either exclusion or inclusion (managing physical distance between people and
certain animals). At a macro-scale these relations effectively consign animals
identified as wild to a wilderness beyond human civilization; their transgressions
of the wilderness boundary - a case of matter "out of place" (Cresswell, 1996) - can
lead to murderous reprisals from the human community (Emel, 1995; Wolch et al.,
1995). Alternatively, these relations can entail the welcoming of animals conceived
to be tame into the home, yard, and immediate residential neighborhood as
companion animals. Curiously, should such animals escape to the wild and become
feral, they are typically regarded as transgressive. Between these two extremes lie
those animals regarded as domesticated, possessing utility as food and other
products, which are allocated to such specialist locations as farms, fields, markets,
and abattoirs where they are supposed to spend their days from birth to death. Such
spatial relations are made more complex in many ways, not least by the agency of
It is one task of the new animal geography to explore the complex nexus of
spatial relations between people and animals. The goal is to tease out the myriad
economic, political, social, and cultural pressures shaping these relations with
reference to both particular groupings of people and particular species of animals.
Thus Anderson (1997) reassesses the traditional geographical interpretations of
domestication and reinterprets some of this deeply entrenched pattern of human-
animal relations through a political and socio-cultural lens. Looking at the geogra-
phy of domestic animals in the late 20th century, Ufkes (1995) explains dramatic
locational shifts in the US livestock sector on the basis of globalization-driven
intensive farming and new levels of consumer demand for both lean meat and cheap
meat (the latter associated with increasing income disparities). She also zeroes in
on corporate efforts at harnessing biotechnology "to build a better pig" - leaner and
faster growing. Such efforts to alter the interior geography of the animal body have
devastating implications for animal well-being. Other researchers focus on deep-
seated politico-religious conflicts around society-animal relations. Robbins ( 1998)
explains how the ancient religious ideals of Hindu vegetarianism have become
ideological weapons in an ongoing (and often violent) struggle over political
control in Rajistan. Muslim livestock farmers and butchers in Rajistan, who have
few alternatives to entering a globalizing meat industry, are caught in the middle
of this Hindu-Muslim power struggle.
Employing both metaphoric and material conceptions of space, other cultural
animal geographers seek to illuminate human-animal relations. One approach is to
trace the pervasive but often hidden networks binding an animal shot in the wild.
a science laboratory, a variety of corporate offices great and small, a high street
retail outlet, a private kitchen and the like. Such research, inspired by Latour's «
actor-network theory (Whatmore, 1997; Whatmore & Thome, 1998), deploys a
strong sense of spatial relations while also illuminating the myriad documents and
multiple devices which enable such relations to be traced across the globe. A further
line of inquiry has narrowed the lens to more intimate spaces such as home, garden,
and neighborhood park, asking about their roles in shaping society-animal rela-
tions. Wolch (1996) suggests that contemporary cities, which exclude so many
animals from their midst, promote a profound emotional distanciation between
people and animals that under-girds routine practices of extermination and habitat
destruction. Recreating small-scale urban sites where people and animals might
interact on a daily basis, forging what Wolch terms "zoopolis," would enable
residents to adopt "animal standpoints" and enter into interspecific networks of
friendship capable of breaking down city-country dualisms so destructive of animal l
Place, Region and Landscape
A second geographical concept is place, deployed to capture the situated, material
dimensions of space. The concept of place is not relative, but absolute: it describes
the particularities of singular, unique, nameable settings where phenomena, natural
and human, together create a distinctive assemblage which is clearly "this place"
(Manchester, the Algarve, Las Vegas) rather than any other. Although notions of
place have also been debated within academic geography (Duncan, 1994; Entrikin,
1991; Relph, 1976), the tradition of focusing on differences between places, and
spotlighting place-specific features, has an even older pedigree than does the spatial l
tradition. Thus geographers have often paid special attention to the diverse
elements which combine to create the visual impression of distinctiveness for a
given place, and one result is interest in the visible landscape as an object to be
perceived, enjoyed, and analyzed.
As spatial science grew more dominant in the 1960s and 1970s, the analysis of
place receded, regarded as merely descriptive and thus pre-scientific. By the 1980s,
however, energized by trends in psychology, the philosophies of meaning and
cultural studies, fresh ideas about the centrality of place to human experience,
emotion, and ideology began to influence human geography (Ley & Samuels,
1978). Questions to do with place, region, and landscape have acquired new
relevance to human geographers, stimulating research aimed at teasing out the
meanings - deeply existential and more overtly politicized, loving and antagonis-
tic, shared and conflicting - which people attach to places where they live, work,
play, and travel. Linked to recent work on spatial relations, contemporary geo-
graphical studies show how place-based struggles, identities, and politics are
integral to wider societal processes, forces, and structures (Agnew, 1987).
Animal geographers have often incorporated notions of place and related
categories into their research. For instance, zobgeographers look in detail at the
associations of particular animal species found in particular places of the world.
Intriguingly, Davies ( 1961, p. 415) distinguishes between ecology as the study of
place - those local mixes of environmental factors attracting given animal species
to settle in given places - and geography as the study of space. Quite a few
zo6geographical studies do indeed concentrate on particular places, sometimes at
the regional scale but more commonly focussing on smaller habitat patches. One
example is Carter's ( 1997) recent inquiry into the wedge-tailed shearwaters of
Heron Island, off the Australian coast, in which she also focuses on the very specific
nest-site selections of these puffins (thus drawing attention to even smaller places
on this island).
Work undertaken by cultural animal geographers has also given consideration
to place. Several such studies emphasize how environmental, economic, political.
social, and cultural contexts underlie place-specific society-animal relations and
how they are negotiated and transformed over time. The argument is that these
relations are differentially constituted in different places, forming a complex
geography which can, in principle, be mapped out onto the places, regions, and
landscapes spread across the earth's surface.
Especially illustrative of such work is Matless' ( 1994) detailed research on the
"place" of animals in the Norfolk Broads, a series of shallow lakes with their linking
rivers in eastern England, often used for sailing, cruising, shooting, and bird
watching. Drawing on the idea of a "moral geography," Matless investigates the
constellations of ideas about how human life should be lived in relation to given
environments, i.e. specific blueprints or codes for local conduct. He documents the
cross-cutting "cultures of nature" - some predicated on violence and hunting.
others on a preservationist approach "warranting quiet observation rather than loud
killing" (1994, p.141 ). Both have decisively shaped local society-animal relations
in the Broadlands for much of the present century.
Philo ( 1995) and Gullo, Lassiter and Wolch (1998), who set their studies in
19th century London and late 20th century southern California respectively, do not
offer such a sustained place-centered account. Nonetheless, their findings are
intimately wrapped up in the details of place. Philo's place is a crazily congested
Victorian commercial capital faced with the unsettling sights and sounds of live
meat markets, with their cursing drovers and stampeding bullocks. In contrast.
Gullo et al. focus on an exploding American "exopolis" swiftly encroaching on
nearby chaparral wildlands and pine-forested mountains, home to cougars, coyo-
tes, and bears. Similarly, Proctor's (1998; Proctor & Pincetl, 1996) work on the
controversy surrounding spotted owls and old growth forest is not only rooted in
the actual landscape of the Pacific Northwest, complete with its declining timber
regions, but also in the moral geography discursively created around the owl itself.
In late 20th century Pacific Northwest, the owl symbolizes the sagacity of nature
for some but the collapse of community for others (the latter being used to
legitimate killing individual owls). In her study of culture and nature at the Adelaide
Zoo, Anderson explicitly states that "[i]f the zoo is a 'space', Adelaide Zoo is a
`place"' (1995, p.280). By this, she indicates a parallel movement between
advancing claims about zoos as pivotal sites in the cultural construction of nature.
and also of colonial and ultimately national identity, and grounding particular
claims in the historical-geographical specificity of the Adelaide enterprise.
Paralleling research on the more intimate spaces of society-animal relations.
other cultural animal geographers have considered how small-scale places shape
the emotional bonds between people and animals, influencing larger political
spheres in which decisions about conservation and habitat protection are made.
Michel (1998) highlights the case of volunteers working to rehabilitate golden
eagles in the fast-shrinking chaparral wildlands of San Diego, California. Drawing
upon feminist insights, Michel reveals how an alternative "politics of care"
emerges from the daily practices of rehabilitation far removed from the public
realm of land-use planning, so dominated by a technocratic discourse alienated
from the realities of injured and dying eagles. This place-based politics of care is
played out in local schools and other community institutions - in the form of
environmental education - and serves to prompt new directions for environmental
activism in general.
The Present Special Theme Issue
The four articles that constitute this issue approach animal geographies at multiple
spatial scales, viewed through several theoretical lenses, and with varying empha-
sis on animals as active subjects, elements of nature, and cultural symbols.
Anderson reconsiders the geography of animal domestication, situating certain
chapters of the domestication story in European political discourses about human
uniqueness. Arguing that domestication cannot be fully understood by recourse to
traditional cultural ecology frameworks that treat animals as natural resources, she
draws upon theories of power and identity to make sense of this process. Ultimately,
she contends that domestication concretized a dualistic model of human and animal l
in western cultures, with the case of the Adelaide Zoo highlighting how domesti-
cation underlies contradictory human-animal relations played out at various spatial
scales and in particular geographic places.
The second paper deals with specific domesticated animals and their changing
relationship to people in rural Britain. Yarwood and Evans consider how recent and
fundamental shifts in capitalist agricultural systems have stimulated rural decline
and, in response, efforts to reinvigorate the countryside economy through
agrotourism. In this context, family farms have become theme parks and resorts,
where old, rare, and endangered breeds of livestock are not only star attractions (and
thus, increasingly, precious commodities) but also powerful - and fungible -
symbols of cultural heritage. Strategies for the protection of rare breeds, along with
the rise of agrotourism, have altered the spatial distribution of rare breeds and
transformed the links between breeds, place, and culture.
Next, Thome moves us down and around the globe to the Antipodes, with her
analysis of the worldwide trade in kangaroo bodies. Justified by their historical
construction as a "pest" species by rural farmers, along with a popular "spatial
imaginary" or conception of kangaroos - fecund and abundant - roaming a vast.
empty and uninterrupted national territory, tens of thousands of kangaroos are shot
each year. This is despite increasing loss and fragmentation of kangaroo habitat.
and despite the animal's status as a powerful tourist attraction and symbol of
Australian nationhood familiar worldwide. Drawing on Latour's actor network
theory, Thorne traces the set of complex relations that bind kangaroos to each other.
and link their slaughter to a wide range of far-flung human actors and institutions.
Ironically, the perceived abundance of kangaroos makes them a non-issue for
conservationists, whose frameworks for wildlife protection only bestow value on
the rare or endangered.
In the final contribution, Elder, Wolch and Emel consider how culture-specific
human-animal relations or, simply, animal practices are molded by place and
environment, and legitimated over time. They argue that as the "empire comes
home" in the form of international migration to the west, and as cultural diversity
increases under conditions of postmodemity, decontextualized "out-of-place"
animal practices risk being interpreted as transgressions of the human-animal
divide. Divergent animal practices and norms of cruelty and harm can thus trigger
social conflict and racialization of subaltern groups. To counter such marginal ization.
Elder, Wolch and Emel recommend a "pratique sauvage" or radical democracy that
encompasses not only subaltern people but animals too.
We hope that the readers of Society & Animals will agree that a geographical
perspective can make important theoretical, empirical, and policy-relevant contri-
butions to research on society-animal relations. It is in this spirit (rather than any
sense of disciplinary imperialism) that the current theme issue has been assembled.
We trust that in the articles which follow, readers will find much of intrinsic interest
but also discover what a cultural animal geography can achieve.
1. Correspondence should be directed to Jennifer Wolch, Department of Geography.
University of Southern California, University Park, Los Angeles, California 90089-0255.
Agnew, J. A. (1987). Place and politics: The geographical mediation of state and society.
Boston: Allen & Unwin.
Anderson, K. ( 1995). Culture and nature at the Adelaide Zoo: at the frontiers of "human"
geography. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 20(ns), 275-294.
Anderson, K. (1997). A walk on the wild side: a critical geography of domestication.
Progress in Human Geography, 21, 463-485.
Bennett, C. F. ( 1960). Cultural animal geography: an inviting field of research. Professional
Geographer, 12(5), 12-14.
Bennett, C. F. (1961). Animal geography in geography textbooks: a critical analysis.
Professional Geographer, 13, 13-16.
Bryan, B. A. (1997). A generic method for identifying regional koala habitat using GIS.
Australian Geographical Studies, 35, 125-139.
Cansdale, G. S. (1949). Some problems in animal geography. Geographical Magazine, 22.
Cansdale, G. S. (1950). Animals and man, I: the results of competition and conflict.
Geographical Magazine, 23, 74-84.
Cansdale, G. S. (1951a). Animals and man, II: domestication - providers of food and
clothing. Geographical Magazine, 23, 390-399.
Cansdale, G. S. (1951b). Animals and man, III: domestication -transport animals, pets and
allies. Geographical Magazine, 23, 524-534.
Cansdale, G. S. (1951c). Animals and man, IV: chance and deliberate introductions.
Geographical Magazine, 24, 155-162.
Cansdale, G. S. (1951d). Animals and man, V: biological control. Geographical Magazine.
Cansdale, G. S. (1952) Animals and man. London: Hutchison.
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