Pet Food Communication: Notes on the Crisis of Naturalism

  • Roberta BartolettiEmail author
  • Giulia Cecchelin
Part of the Biosemiotics book series (BSEM, volume 17)


Since the beginning of the second half of the twentieth century, an important change has been taking place in western society regarding the relationship between humans and animals – i.e. pets, wild animals and livestock. We wonder if changes in progress can be interpreted as a crisis in naturalism, and we will try to reflect on whether, and how, the relationship of naturalism with other ontologies, first of all animism, can be used as a lens in order to understand the sense and direction of the ongoing processes. We will focus on domestic animals and pet food, because food represents a mediator of extraordinary relevance in human-animal relations. We analysed the packaging of a collection of pet food products which are currently on the market in Italy and Europe. The body of material chosen was examined in order to find answers to the following research questions: What pet food values are being promoted by the producer? What kind of consumer, either human or animal, is being profiled? And what kind of human/animal relationship is being recognised and promoted by the pet food producer? The human-animal relation which is prevailingly recognised and appreciated by pet food producers is one of affectionate and responsible control, while the dialogic relationship, which still appears, is both as radically innovative as it is minor.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Urbino “Carlo Bo”UrbinoItaly
  2. 2.Independent ResearcherBolognaItaly

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