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Social Theory and Practice


published on June 14, 2020

Sue Donaldson

Animal Agora
Animal Citizens and the Democratic Challenge

Many theorists of the ‘political turn’ in animal rights theory emphasize the need for animals’ interests to be considered in political decision-making processes, but deny that this requires self-representation and participation by animals themselves. I argue that participation by domesticated animals in co-authoring our shared world is indeed required, and explore two ways to proceed: 1) by enabling animal voice within the existing geography of human-animal roles and relationships; and 2) by freeing animals into a revitalized public commons (‘animal agora’) where citizens encounter one another in spontaneous, unpredictable encounters in spaces that they can re-shape together.

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