Guest editors' introduction: animals and language

Society and Animals 14 (1):1-7 (2006)
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The twentieth century saw what could be described as a parting of the ways between humans and other species of animal in many parts of the world. Increasing urbanization and the intensification of farming resulted in restricted opportunities to interact directly with other animals, particularly freeroaming animals in their natural habitats. At the same time, changes in technology led to greatly increased opportunities to come into contact with animals indirectly through their representation in media such as film, television, and the internet. This extra stage of mediation between actual animals in the world and a human population’s experience of them is extremely important, because representations necessarily are partial. Among the forces that potentially influence representations are powerful commercial forces. They pressure for increased intensive confinement of animals, increased human use of habitats, larger catches of animals in the wild, and numerous other ways of increasing the utility drawn from animals. At the same time, these forces are resisted in a variety of directions by those working for animal welfare, rights,


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