Justice for All

Inconvenient truths and reconciliation in human–non-human relations

Authored by: Veronica Strang

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Anthropology

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138782877
eBook ISBN: 9781315768946
Adobe ISBN: 9781317667964


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Anthropologists have long assisted disadvantaged human communities in their endeavours to achieve social justice, and they are now paying increasing attention to the need to extend notions of justice to non-human species. The emergence of more fluid and relational social theories, along with some useful experiments with interspecies ethnography, have served to promote bioethical approaches suggesting that justice for people should not – and indeed cannot – come before ecological justice. Animal rights debates have continued to raise moral questions about the provision of justice to those who cannot speak for themselves. Environmental concerns have foregrounded the interdependence of humans and other species and the potential for the disruption of these relationships to have major impacts on whole ecosystems. And, with extinction rates rocketing, it is clear that a dualistic vision of Culture and Nature that produces separate ‘social’ and ‘environmental’ categories is both theoretically and practically inadequate. This chapter therefore seeks to articulate a theoretical approach that reconciles the human and non-human, and underlines the reality that sustainable relationships between them can only be achieved by the provision of justice for all.

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