Beyond Speciesism: Theorizing Difference and Domination



Species is, very fundamentally, a difference. Its common meaning is biological – a category of taxonomic classi?cation within which particular species – groups of organisms – might be placed. It is a nomenclature, a kind, a type, a variety. It is also, and importantly, an assignation. Marc Bekoff suggests that in much biology, the boundaries delimiting species are overemphasized, underplaying Darwin’s own understanding of evolutionary continuity which stresses that the differences of species are those of degree rather than kind (2007a: xviii). Bekoff and others have contributed greatly to our understanding of a range of species, particularly mammals, as sentient and emotional beings. From Darwin’s six core emotions that many animals share: anger, happiness, joy, fear, disgust, surprise and sadness, others have added jealousy, contempt, shame, embarrassment, sympathy, guilt, grief, envy, pride, admiration and indignation. Many non-human animals can also suffer depression, stress and conditions such as autism and bi-polarity. Bekoff also suggests that many animals are likely to experience love of a variety of kinds: romantic, maternal and of close friendship (2007a: 70–7). Many species demonstrate sociality, rules of etiquette and cultural differences. A few, such as chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants demonstrate self awareness and others, such as dogs, have a sense of humour and morality. Pigs, who are remarkably friendly to humans (given how they are overwhelmingly treated), are sociable, enjoy play and toys, and being gregarious sorts, are easily bored (Masson, 2004: 18–21).


Social Relation Social Life Complexity Theory Causal Power Human Relation 
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Copyright information

© Erika Cudworth 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of East LondonUK

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