“Critical Posthumanism for All: A Call to Reject Insect Speciesism"

WHITE, Richard and GUNDERMAN, Hannah (2020). “Critical Posthumanism for All: A Call to Reject Insect Speciesism". International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy.

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Official URL: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.110...
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-09-2019-0196


Of all the lessons that our crisis-driven epoch of the Anthropocene is teaching us, one of the most profound is this: our very existence on earth is intimately bound with, and indeed dependent upon, the flourishing of all forms of life. This holds particularly true with respect to the complex multispecies encounters between human and insect communities, an area of enquiry which is almost entirely entirely neglected across the social sciences. Regrettably it is only now, faced with the imminent catastrophic decline and extinction of insect and invertebrate populations that our human relationships with these fellow Earthlings are finally being seen as deserving enough to draw the attention of critical scholars, broader activist and policy-making communities alike. In trying to address some of this considerable gap in knowledge and understanding we focus the narrative of insect decline as an impact of colonialism and anti-Indigenous white supremacist policies across the world, enabling insect speciesism to flourish alongside the exploitation of myriad other human and nonhuman creatures. The aim of the paper is to contribute to this emerging literature by articulating a posthuman politics of hope: born of a desire to unpack both the richly embodied personal experiences, and web of relationalities formed through repeated encounters with insects, more fully. Crucially, this entails focusing on ordinary sites and places that will be familiar to most people. It is here, we argue, that to interrogate insect speciesism can teach us important lessons in how we can meaningfully extend our compassion, and broaden our intersectional approaches to social justice, to live more meaningfully and non-violently with insects as fellow Earthlings. The paper argues as long as there is discrimination towards even the smallest creatures of earth, there will also be discrimination towards humans and larger nonhuman animals. To this end the paper pays particular attention to explores the use of everyday language and framing of insects, and how this is used to ‘other’ them, and thereby trivialise or demonise their existence, such as "it's *just* a bug" or they are all "pests". In doing so we show how this employs the same rhetoric and framing reinforcing broader discrimination patterns of larger nonhuman animals and humans. We evidence this by focusing on the unexpected encounter with other insects in domestic spaces, such as an office desk, and through the multispecies space of ‘the allotment’. This discussion then opens up to reflect on two possible posthuman futures, one where insect speciesism is still entrenched and unrepentant; the second a decolonized society where we have aspired to live a more compassionate and non-violent existence amidst these remarkable, brilliant and incredible lives that we owe our very existence on Earth as we know it.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1205 Urban and Regional Planning; 1605 Policy and Administration; 1608 Sociology
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSSP-09-2019-0196
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 18 May 2020 10:24
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 23:47
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/26348

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