Historical Social Research

Svenja Ahlhaus & Peter Niesen (Eds.): Animal Politics. A New Research Agenda in Political Theory[Abstract]

While other academic disciplines have all established highly visible branches of Animal Studies in recent decades, Political Theory has struggled to carve out a distinctive approach. What can freedom, equality, citizenship or democracy mean in political communities of humans and animals? The editors of this HSR Forum suggest the new field of Animal Politics, i.e. the study of human-animal relations in Political Theory, is marked by a concern with animals as politically subjected beings, as individual bearers of coercive claims and as candidates for political membership. The first half of the contributions in this HSR Forum critically engage with Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka’s pioneering work Zoopolis, especially with their call for applying the vocabulary of citizenship to animals. The other contributions probe the chances for Animal Politics confronting social and political issues such as religious exemptions to animal welfare law or the status of animals at war. The aim of this HSR Forum is to outline and critically evaluate Animal Politics, and provide an alternative both to anthropocentric Political Theory and unpolitical Animal Ethics.