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"Can the Nonhuman Speak?"Eco-politics and the Animal Protection Movement in Taiwan
Gina, Gina G. Song-Lopez
Gina G. Song-Lopez
|Issue Date:||2017-03-01 17:34:48 (UTC+8)|
|Abstract:||The title of this thesis is a reference to Spivak’s famous essay: Can the Subaltern Speak?2 By introducing the concept of the nonhuman in the context of this question, this action seeks to highlight the characteristic silence surrounding the inclusion of nature and animals in mainstream socio-political discussions. In the East Asian context this rings true due to the relatively limited scholarship on animal advocacy dynamics in the region. Taiwan is one such example where in spite of its increasing visibility and effectiveness, the animal protection movement has received little attention in relation to its growing influence in the eco-political landscape of the country. This thesis examines the emergence of animal protection rationales in Taiwan as an example of a ‘New Social Movement’ (NSM), and explores the mobilization dynamics employed by animal advocacy groups engaged in the transformation of socio-natural relationships. For this purpose, this thesis applies Jürgen Habermas’ ‘system-lifeworld’ framework as advanced in his work on NSMs based on The Theory of Communicative Action. The findings indicate that animal protection consciousness in Taiwan arose from a new area of conflicts in the socio-natural space due to economic industrialization. At the same time, the convergence of Buddhist Modernism and Animal Ethics has resulted in the emergence of distinctive identities based on animal protection, and more recently the spread of veganism in the country. Counter institutions established from these processes of communicative action play a central role in advancing new discourses to address human-nonhuman interests. Therefore, the Animal Protection Movement in Taiwan is an increasingly prominent element in the eco-political landscape of the country. Future inquiry should pay closer attention to such developments in the East Asian context. Here, insights from the case of Taiwan’s animal advocacy provide a relevant starting point.|
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