Civilisation and the Domination of the Animal

Article


Cudworth, E. and Hobden, S. 2014. Civilisation and the Domination of the Animal. Millennium: Journal of International Studies. 42 (3), pp. 746-766.
AuthorsCudworth, E. and Hobden, S.
Abstract

Underlying claims about a ‘standard of civilisation’ are questions about what it means to be human. Those that assert membership of a higher civilisation do so on the basis of the extent to which a particular grouping has been able to separate itself and become independent of nature. Such contentions reproduce the duality between the human and non-human nature in that the civilised are considered as separate/superior to the non-civilised, and on the grounds of that superiority have a right of dominion over them in ways that parallel human relations with non-human nature. The process of othering that any claim of civilisation requires thus involves a claim about the less than human status of the other.

Following a brief discussion of posthumanism, we assess the considerable literature on the ‘standard of civilisation’ and, focusing on the language of race, consider the ways in which claims about civilisation are based on notions of a separation from nature. In the third section we assess the implications of such a separation. In the final section we turn the notion of civilisation on its head, by pointing to developments that suggest that those groupings who make the claims to be most separated from nature are those posing the gravest ecological threats.

JournalMillennium: Journal of International Studies
Journal citation42 (3), pp. 746-766
ISSN1477-9021
0305-8298
Year2014
PublisherSAGE
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0305829814540355
Publication dates
Print01 Jun 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Sep 2015
Accepted01 Jun 2014
Copyright information© 2014 The author. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0305829814540355
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