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Kinship across species: Learning to care for nonhuman others

Desai, Shruti and Smith, Harriet ORCID: 2018. Kinship across species: Learning to care for nonhuman others. Feminist Review 118 (1) , pp. 41-60. 10.1057/s41305-018-0104-0

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This essay responds to Donna J. Haraway’s (2016) provocation to ‘stay with the trouble’ of learning to live well with nonhumans as kin, through practice-based approaches to learning to care for nonhuman others. The cases examine the promotion of care for trees through mobile game apps for forest conservation, and kinship relations with city farm animals in Kentish Town, London. The cases are analysed with a view to how they articulate care practices as a means of making kin. Two concepts are proposed, ‘learning from’ and ‘facing’ the Other, which are thickened through discussions of how caring takes place in each case in relation to a particular category of nonhuman other: animated tree and urban farm animal. Thus while attendant to situations of care involving a specific nonhuman subject, the cases also broker thinking on learning from and facing (the) other kinds of trees and animals, and the interspecies dynamics of which they are a part. The intersectional implications of the practice sites and participants are elaborated, to complexify and affirm situated but also reflexive approaches to caring. In doing this, the authors attend to their own positionalities, seeking to diversify Western-based ecofeminist engagements with caring, while asking what their research can do for the nonhuman other. They formulate and apply a collaborative methodological approach to the case studies, developed through cultivating attentiveness to the nonhuman subject of research. The authors consider in particular how attentiveness to the nonhuman other can facilitate practices of knowing that further a non-anthropocentric and non-innocent ethic of caring. By further interconnecting situations of caring for nonhuman animals and plants, the authors advocate for practices of care that antagonise how species boundaries are drawn and explore the implications for learning to care for nonhumans as kin.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISSN: 0141-7789
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 12 July 2019
Date of Acceptance: 8 May 2018
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 18:30

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