Animals, Social Inequalities and Oppression
In sociology, the examination of inequalities and oppression centres on the power relations, inequalities and disadvantages that are fundamental to most social systems. Apart from being central to relations among humans such inequalities and oppressions are fundamental to relations between humans and other animals. Despite the prevalence of inequalities associated with being ‘animal’, sociological analysis has largely centred on power relations among humans. In this chapter I aim to explore how other animals have been (and can be further) drawn into sociological analysis of social inequalities and oppression. In order to do this I examine sociological work that considers human relationships with other animals and the contradictory ways that humans view other species, and investigate the ways in which the oppression of other animals is interconnected with oppressions related to, for example, gender, class and ‘race’. In addition, I draw on sociological thinking about difference, similarity and ‘otherness’ as central aspects of stratification and oppression. The chapter is organized around David Nibert’s (2002) theoretical framework, which sets out to explain the origins of the oppression of humans and other animals. To put this theoretical framework in context the chapter begins with discussion of how stratification has been discussed in sociology.
KeywordsSocial Inequality Human Language Relationship Type Collective Identity Sociological Analysis
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