Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity and Representation pdf epub fb2

Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity and Representation by Steve Baker pdf epub fb2

Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity and Representation Author: Steve Baker
Title: Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity and Representation
ISBN: 0719033772
ISBN13: 978-0719033773
Other Formats: doc mbr mobi lrf
Pages: 256 pages
Publisher: Manchester Univ Pr (January 1, 1993)
Language: English
Category: Literature & Fiction
Size PDF version: 1454 kb
Size EPUB version: 1395 kb
Subcategory: Mythology & Folk Tales

This work sets out to tackle three main questions. First, why should it be that the animal, frequently conceived as the archetypal cultural "other", plays such a potent and vital role in the symbolic ocnstruction of human identity in such a variety of contemporary instances? Of course, if representation of the animal can be used to make almost any kind of statement about humans and human identity, it might reasonably be asked to what extent the animal constitutes a meaningful connecting theme at all. Part of the book's purpose, however, is precisely to question and to demythologize the idea of animal imagery as a "natural" resource for saying-things-about-humans. Secondly, what is the realtion of these kinds of cultural representations to the circumstances of actual living animals in that same culture, and what can the animal rights movement learn from this evidence in its attempt to develop and promote a less contemptuous and condescending attitude to animals throughout the culture? Thirdly, is the creation of a more "positive" image for animals necessarily the most effective way forward here, or do other more oblique tactics for bringing about change in public attitudes need to be explored? The greater part of the book is necessarily concerned with that first immense question of how animals figure in our thinking about human identity, but it has been the other two questions which have provided much of the motivation for trying to answer it. There is no very obvious reason why the destabilizing of entrenched stereotypes of human identity resulting from the post-structuralist strategy of "decentering the subject" might not be made to work, indirectly at least, to the animals' advantage. Inn the end it should not simply be a matter of our studying what animals already signify in the culture but rather, through a benevolent manipulation, of exploring what animals might yet be made to signify.