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  • 1. Neil McPherson
    Society & Human/Nonhuman
    Animal Relations (SOCY10015)
    Lecture 4: Sociology and the nonhuman animal: the animal as
    absent referent
     
    “Sociologists…have often been myopic in their observations of human behaviour, cultural patterns, and social relationship, and unfortunately have not taken into account the permeating social influences of animals in our larger cultural fabric, and our more idiosyncratic individual modes of interaction and relationships, in their analyses of social life.”
    (Bryant 2008: 8)
    Dr NEIL McPHERSON
    Email: neil.mcpherson@uws.ac.uk
    Twitter: @neilgmcpherson
    SMS: 07708 931 325
  • 2. Neil McPherson
    Drawing the borders: excluding the nonhuman
    animal from Sociology
    Impact of Descartes and Cartesian dualism
    Ontological separation of mind and body
    The humanisation of reason
    The animal as bête machine
  • 3. Neil McPherson
    Kant and the Enlightenment
    “‘Have courage to use your own reason!’ – that is the motto
    of the Enlightenment” – Kant
    Critique of pure reason – synthetic a priori judgments
    Man emerged as the subject and object of knowledge –
    as ‘empirico-transcendental doublet’ (Foucault 2002)
  • 4. Neil McPherson
    Kant and the Enlightenment
    Critique of practical reason
    “Kant’s heroic break with natural law and cosmic order, far from opening up the possibility for diversity, shifted the debate to the search for the structure of human finitude which would provide universal norms for human action.”
    Enlightenment Man located at the centre of knowledge production
    The emergence of the human sciences
  • 5. Neil McPherson
    Kant and the Enlightenment
    The emergence of the human sciences
    “[Kant’s work was]…instrumental in laying the foundations of the human sciences, and classical sociology in particular was inspired from Kantian roots. His thought has remained influential through the development of sociological thinking during the course of the twentieth century, and remains an important source of ideas and inspiration within contemporary social theory”
    (Walsh 2007: online)
    Separation of natural and social sciences
  • 6. Neil McPherson
    The ontological separation of (human) society and the natural world – of human and nonhuman – of Man and animal
    The location of the ‘animal’ outside the sphere of the Sociology
    Acceptance of ‘animal’ as biological
    “Many people in or allied with the social sciences err in accepting biology’s image of animals as the animal essence”
    (Noske 2008: 25-26)
    Exclusion of the nonhuman animal from ‘being’ (see Shapiro 2008)
    Nature/culture dichotomy
  • 7. Neil McPherson
    Sociology and the nonhuman animal
    Historical exclusion of animals from society/realm of culture
    “The social science present themselves preeminently as the science of discontinuity between humans and animals”
    (Noske 2008: 24)
    Separation of species and relations
  • 8. Neil McPherson
    Sociology and the nonhuman animal
    The animal as human other
    Repression and objectification of the ‘animal’
    “At most out “animalness” (our body) is taken to have formed the material base upon our real “humanness” (mind society, culture, language) could arise”
    (Noske 2008: 24)
    Animal as objects of natural science
    Anthropocentrism
  • 9. Neil McPherson
    Natural science and the nonhuman animal
    Animals are ‘de-animalised’ – a biological construct
    Reduced by biology to position of subhuman entity
    Separated by reason and speech but tied by biological function
    Biological reductionism
  • 10. Neil McPherson
    Locating the nonhuman animal in the nature/culture dichotomy of classical Sociology: the animal as absent referent to the human
    “the classical tradition can be said to be ‘radically sociological’ in that in their quest to liberate social thought and sociology from reductionisms, prejudices, power relations, and magic, the classical theorists (and, arguably more so, the twentieth century interpreters of the classical tradition) wound up exaggerating the autonomy of social processes from the natural world.”
    (Foster 1999: 367)
  • 11. Neil McPherson
    Locating the nonhuman animal in the nature/culture dichotomy of classical Sociology: the animal as absent referent to the human
    Marx
    German Ideology & the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts
    Human potential for society
    Human relationship to production
    Alienation and species being
  • 12. Neil McPherson
    Locating the nonhuman animal in the nature/culture dichotomy of classical Sociology: the animal as absent referent to the human
    Society
    “This beginning [of society] is as animalistic as social life itself at this stage. It is the mere consciousness of being a member of a flock, and the only difference between sheep and man is that man possesses consciousness instead of instinct, or in other words his instinct is more conscious.”
    (Marx 1994: 177)
  • 13. Neil McPherson
    Locating the nonhuman animal in the nature/culture dichotomy of classical Sociology: the animal as absent referent to the human
    Production
    “[The animal] produces one-sidedly, while man produces universally. It produces only under the dominion of immediate physical need, while man produces even when he is free from physical need and only truly produces in freedom therefrom. An animal produces only itself, while man reproduces the whole of nature. An animal’s product belongs immediately to its physical body, while man freely confronts his product.”
    (Marx 1988: 177)
  • 14. Neil McPherson
    Locating the nonhuman animal in the nature/culture dichotomy of classical Sociology: the animal as absent referent to the human
    Alienation
    “The animal is immediately identical with its life activity. It does not distinguish itself from it. It is its life activity…Conscious life activity directly distinguishes man from animal life-activity. It is just because of this that he is a species being…Estranged labor reverses this relationship, so that it is just because man is a conscious being that he makes his life-activity, his essential being, a mere means to his existence.”
    (Marx, 1988: 76)
  • 15. Neil McPherson
    Locating the nonhuman animal in the nature/culture dichotomy of classical Sociology: the animal as absent referent to the human
    Mead
    George Herbert Mead on Social Psychology
    Language & emotion
    “The dogs are not talking to each other; there are no ideas in the minds of the dogs; nor do we assume that the dog is trying to convey an idea to the other dog.”
    (Mead 1956: 160)
  • 16. Neil McPherson
    Locating the nonhuman animal in the nature/culture dichotomy of classical Sociology: the animal as absent referent to the human
    Mead
    “Gestures may be either conscious (significant) or unconscious (non-significant). The conversation of gestures is not significant below the human level…An animal as opposed to a human form, in indicating something to, or bringing out a meaning for, another form, is not at the same time indicating or bringing out the same thing or meaning to or for himself; for the animal has no mind, no thought, and hence there is no meaning here in the significant or self-conscious sense.”
    (Mead 1956: 160)
  • 17. Neil McPherson
    Locating the nonhuman animal in the nature/culture dichotomy of classical Sociology: the animal as absent referent to the human
    Weber
    Economy & Society vol 2
    “In so far [as the behaviorof animals is subjectively understandable] it would be theoretically possible to formulate a sociology of the relations of men to animals, both domestic and wild. Thus, many animals "understand" commands, anger, love, hostility, and react to them in ways which are evidently often by no means purely instinctive and mechanical and in some sense both consciously meaningful and affected by experience.”
    (Weber 1978:15-16)
  • 18. Neil McPherson
    Locating the nonhuman animal in the nature/culture dichotomy of classical Sociology: the animal as absent referent to the human
    Weber
    “It would be too far afield even to attempt to discuss how far the behavior of animals is subjectively understandable to us and vice versa; in both cases the meaning of the term understanding and its extent of application would be highly problematical.”
    (Weber 1978:15)
  • 19. Neil McPherson
    Where now for the animal in Sociology?
    The ‘animal turn’
    A sociology of Sociology
    The collapsing of disciplinary borders