Title

Law's Underdog: A Call for Nonhuman Legalities

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

10-1-2018

Abstract

Questions pertaining to the role of nonhumans in law shed light on some of the most fundamental assumptions and constructions of contemporary modern law. I start by reviewing the traditions of animal welfare and animal rights in legal studies and by discussing the constitutional frameworks that contend with the animal. Then, I move beyond the individual-based discourse of much existing animal law to contemplate ecological traditions that consider nonhuman populations and species as well as land ethics and ecosystem management. Next, I review the rich literature that has emerged in the last two decades in critical theory, mainly posthumanism and its subtraditions of animal geographies and multispecies ethnography. Finally, I sketch visions of more-than-human legalities that push beyond the limitations of existing (neo)liberal legal traditions, pausing to consider what ocean, or blue, legalities might look like. Throughout, I argue that we need to move toward a dynamic and pluralistic approach that acknowledges the myriad ways of being in the world, their significance to law, and, in turn, law's significance to these other modes of existence.

Publication Title

Annual Review of Law and Social Science

First Page

127

Last Page

144

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