A review of Être bête
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Vinciane Despret and Jocelyne Porcher Actes Sud, Arles, France, 2007, paperback, 144pp., French price: EUR 14.00, ISBN 13: 978-2742771264
In this book, Despret and Porcher attempt to disassemble the ‘scientific’ discourse of the difference between humans and animals by showing the types of methodological choices that cause it. Up until the twentieth century the discourse on the difference between humans and animals was not supported by disciplines such as Comparative Psychology and Ethology, which were consolidated academically by way of cutting off relations with practices in which the question of human specificity was and still is simply irrelevant. This refers to the practices of stockbreeders and those who raise animals. Here the relationship with other species appears as a relationship between beings that have a capacity for agency. At the beginning of the twentieth century Zootechnics served as a bridge between the practices of animal breeders and Comparative Psychology....