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Attuning to laboratory animals and telling stories: learning animal geography skills from animal technologists

Attuning to laboratory animals and telling stories: learning animal geography skills from animal technologists
Attuning to laboratory animals and telling stories: learning animal geography skills from animal technologists
Posthumanism has challenged the social sciences and humanities to rethink anthopocentricism within the cultures and societies they study and to take account of more-than-human agencies and perspectives. This poses key methodological challenges, including a tendency for animal geographies to focus very much on the human side of human–animal relations and to fail to acknowledge animals as embodied, lively, articulate political subjects. In this paper, we draw on recent ethnographic work, observing and participating in the care of research animals and interviewing the animal technologists, to contribute to the understandings of life within the animal house. In so doing, the paper makes three key arguments. Firstly, that studying how animal technologists perform everyday care and make sense of their relationships with animals offers useful insights into the specific skills, expertise and relationships required in order to study human–animal relations. Secondly, that animal technologists are keenly aware of the contested moralities which emerge in animal research environments and can offer an important position from which to understand this. Thirdly, that storytelling (exemplified by the stories told by animal technologists) is a useful resource for animal geographers to engage with complexity in human–animal relations.
Animal geographies, animal research, attunement, ethics, ethnography, storytelling
0263-7758
367-384
Greenhough, Beth
95a602e8-dd79-4d62-b3d5-0075ae70398a
Roe, Emma
f7579e4e-3721-4046-a2d4-d6395f61c675
Greenhough, Beth
95a602e8-dd79-4d62-b3d5-0075ae70398a
Roe, Emma
f7579e4e-3721-4046-a2d4-d6395f61c675

Greenhough, Beth and Roe, Emma (2019) Attuning to laboratory animals and telling stories: learning animal geography skills from animal technologists. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 37 (2), 367-384. (doi:10.1177/0263775818807720).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Posthumanism has challenged the social sciences and humanities to rethink anthopocentricism within the cultures and societies they study and to take account of more-than-human agencies and perspectives. This poses key methodological challenges, including a tendency for animal geographies to focus very much on the human side of human–animal relations and to fail to acknowledge animals as embodied, lively, articulate political subjects. In this paper, we draw on recent ethnographic work, observing and participating in the care of research animals and interviewing the animal technologists, to contribute to the understandings of life within the animal house. In so doing, the paper makes three key arguments. Firstly, that studying how animal technologists perform everyday care and make sense of their relationships with animals offers useful insights into the specific skills, expertise and relationships required in order to study human–animal relations. Secondly, that animal technologists are keenly aware of the contested moralities which emerge in animal research environments and can offer an important position from which to understand this. Thirdly, that storytelling (exemplified by the stories told by animal technologists) is a useful resource for animal geographers to engage with complexity in human–animal relations.

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Accepted/In Press date: 21 September 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 29 October 2018
Published date: 1 April 2019
Additional Information: Beth Greenhough is a social, cultural and health geographer. For the past 18 years she has drawn on insights from more-than-human geography, Science and Technology Studies and enviromental humanities to critically examine the implications of using humans and animals as resources for biomedical research. She is a Principle Investigator on the Wellcome Trust funded Animal Research Nexus programme (animalresearchnexus.org), and co-author of Bodies Across Borders (Ashgate 2015), Health Geographies: A critical introduction (Wiley 2017) and Bioinformation (Polity 2018). Emma Roe is a leading trans-disciplinary scholar whose research develops from her core concerns as a social and cultural geographer in more-than-human geographies. She has 15 years of experience studying animal-human relations, particularly in the field of animal welfare. She is a Principle Investigator on a Wellcome Trust funded 5-year Collaborative Award ‘The Animal Research Nexus’ (2017–2022). She is co-author of Food and Animal Welfare (Bloomsbury Academic Press) and Participatory Research in More-Than-Human Worlds (Routledge).
Keywords: Animal geographies, animal research, attunement, ethics, ethnography, storytelling

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 426139
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/426139
ISSN: 0263-7758
PURE UUID: 59a66762-c5e5-493a-8954-c7b0bd9bf6be
ORCID for Emma Roe: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4674-2133

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Date deposited: 15 Nov 2018 17:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 01:54

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