Producing Marginalized Knowledge: Privilege and Oppression on the Basis of Species, Class, and Gender

  • Heather Fraser
  • Nik Taylor
Part of the Palgrave Critical University Studies book series (PCU)


In this chapter, we discuss aspects of our experience as working-class feminists employed in nonmainstream areas of the social sciences in a publicly funded Australian university. We explain our intersectional understanding of privilege and oppression, particularly as it relates to human–animal studies, our main area of research. We argue that although there is still some space for critically oriented fields, topics, and methods to be pursued in the academy, they are often subject to derision and/or need to be justified in ways that dominant fields, methods, and perspectives do not. We note that while some of these dynamics pattern all nascent fields, the pervasive history of humanism and the addition of other species to our, and others,’ scholarship exaggerates the marginalization of this field.

We take the view that animals have intrinsic worth beyond their utility to humans. This calls for us to ask serious questions about how the ideologies and practices underpinning neoliberal capitalist societies contribute to, and in fact depend upon, animal oppression. To do otherwise is to ignore the underlying causes of so much misery (other) animals experience, the dramatic loss of habitat, and the extinction of particular species. Yet, such a position is increasingly taboo; perceived of as threatening as earlier questions posed about class inequality in the 1950s and gender inequality and women’s rights in the 1970s. Then and now questions (and questioners) that dig into privilege and oppression run the risk of being trivialized, discredited, marginalized, and ignored. As we consider the implications of this, we reference everyday examples that illustrate wider sociocultural patterns of experience, for humans and other animals.


Nonhuman Animal Companion Animal Feminist Scholar Hegemonic Masculinity Animal Relation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Fraser
    • 1
  • Nik Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Flinders University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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