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Animals, Society and Culture


Animals, Society and Culture Lecture 5: From beasts of burden to fashion accessories 2013-14 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Animals, Society and Culture

Animals, Society and Culture
  • Lecture 5
  • From beasts of burden to fashion accessories
  • 2013-14

Lecture outline
  • 1. The use of animals as prime movers, up to
    and during industrialisation and how working
    animals and animals that were destined for
    slaughter were gradually removed from cities.
  • 2. Shift away from animals as sources of power to
    animals as pets, companions and fashion
  • 3. How this shift has been understood

Prime movers
  • Prime movers are those machines which receive
    energy directly from natural sources, and
    transmit it to other machines which are fitted
    for doing the various kinds of useful work
    (Thurston cited in Greene, 2008 219).
  • The kinds of energy are fossil fuels, falling
    water, wind, the tides, electricity and muscle
  • Prime movers that transform this energy into
    power are animal bodies, heat engines, water
    wheels, tidal machines, windmills, electrical
    engines (Greene, 2008 218-9).

Animals in towns
  • In the towns of the early modern period animals
    were everywhere, and the efforts of municipal
    authorities to prevent the inhabitants from
    keeping pigs or milking their cows in the street
    proved largely ineffective. In 1842 Edwin
    Chadwick found that fowls were still being reared
    in town bedrooms and that not just dogs but even
    horses lived inside town houses. (Thomas, 1984

Working animals
  • Of course, working-animals of every kind were
    extensively used during the first century and a
    half of industrialisation. Horses, donkeys, even
    dogs, were employed in woollen mills, breweries,
    coal mines, and railway shunting-yards. Horses
    did not disappear from the streets until the
    1920s or from the farms until the 1940s. But,
    long before that, most people were working in
    industries powered by non-animal means (Thomas,
    1984 182).

Horses at Work
  • Ann Norton Greene (2008) Horses at work, Harvard
    University Press
  • Horses are a form of technology
  • Through the process of domestication horses
    became living machines. For five millennia humans
    have been modifying horses by breeding them for
    size, strength, speed, temperament, and
    appearance so that they would be more useful in
    transportation, work, warfare and sport. (Green,

Horse power
  • Steam engines replaced long-distance hauling, but
    in the process dramatically increased the number
    of horses used for short-distance haulage.
  • Electric power replaced the use of horses in mass
  • The internal combustion engine and the automobile
    came close to replicating the horse as a prime
    mover offered more power and in the form of
    separate, self-propelled prime movers (Green,

Draft animals
  • Horses, oxen and mules (donkeys in Europe)
  • Oxen were used in the pioneering settler areas to
    clear and break new ground work that was too
    hard for horses.
  • Paintings by Harvey Thomas Dunn and novels by
    Willa Cather, both of whom grew up in prairie
    settlements, detail the use of oxen in the
    initial work of clearing, plowing, hauling, and
    transportation, and the change to horses that
    occurred after the first work of settlement was
    complete (Greene, 200841).

Horse population
  • In 1840 there were 4.3 million horses and mules
    in the US. By 1910 this had risen 6 times to 27.5
    million almost twice rate of human population
  • In 1850 one horse for every 5 humans, in 1900 one
    horse for every 3 humans.
  • Horse became more important with
    industrialisation rather than less important
    for transport and as source of power for
    industrial processes in agriculture and industry.

  • Roads
  • Canals
  • Railways
  • Southwold stagecoach
  • 1860

  • Horses were integral to the growth of the
    industrial city and the mechanisation of
    agriculture in America.
  • In cities they were integral to transport and to
  • Horses provided virtually all the power for the
    internal circulation of the city because no other
    prime mover could compete with them
    technologically (Greene, 2008 170).

Horses in manufacturing
  • There were horse treadmills providing power for
    small enterprises which allowed those with a
    limited amount of capital to engage in mechanised
  • Horses drove brick making machines and saws.
  • They excavated foundations and lifted materials
    into place.
  • Horse powered cranes loaded and unloaded ships,
    they powered dredging pumps in harbours and
    hauled in nets full of fish.
  • Horses were used by municipal authorities in
    fire, police and public health and in crowd

  • During the 1830s and 1840s mechanisation brought
    horses into agriculture.
  • It is commonly assumed that horses were always
    used in agriculture, but before the invention and
    availability of mechanical agricultural
    implements in the middle decades of the 19th
    century, most farm work was performed by humans
    using hand labour and a few horses. (Greene,
  • Horses used with new ploughs and other farm
    machinery, through the use of treadmills they
    produced power needed for threshing, baling,
    winnowing etc. The combination of horses and
    machinery increased productivity.

  • For the first time in history there was a
    mechanical alternative to animal power that
    replicated both its scale and its self-propelled
    versatility.electricity and internal combustion
    represented a revolution in the ways people
    perceived and consumed energy. (Greene,
  • Between 1910 and 1920 number of urban horses
    dropped by nearly 50.

Exclusion from cities
  • Horses and other large animals (cows, pigs,
    sheep) excluded from cities - part of the
    separation of urban from rural, culture from
    nature that was taking place in Britain in the
    19th and early 20th centuries.
  • Result of this process is that some animals
    cats and dogs have been turned into pets and
    are legitimate city dwellers whereas livestock
    are matter out of place and should be expelled
    to the rural world.

Matter out of place
  • Philo, C (1998) Animals, geography, and the
    city notes on inclusions and exclusions in
    Wolch, J and Emel, J (eds) Animal Geographies,
  • Having large beasts mingling on the same roads
    and sticking their heads into shops was seen as
  • The presence of livestock in the city was
    associated with immorality gin shops, public
    houses, degeneracy of neighbourhood linked to
    presence of animals.
  • Animal sexuality a problem.

Separation of urban and rural
  • During the 19th century the horse was the center
    of a masculine world of work, associated with
    status and manly virtue. In the 20th century the
    horse became the centre of a feminine world of
    play associated with young girls. (Greene, 2008
  • Horses now used for recreation and sport rather
    than work.
  • Shes describing a shift in role of animals no
    longer source of power, involved in production,
    but associated with leisure and consumption.

Animals and consumption
  • Animals as commodities to be bought and sold and
    got rid of when no longer wanted
  • Fashion accessories Tinkerbell and Paris Hilton
  • D. Redmalm (2011) Why look at Tinkerbell? in J
    Bull (ed) Animal movements moving animals,
    Uppsala University Centre for Gender Research

The Paris Hilton effect
  • The Tinkerbell-Hilton diaries
  • First of all toy dogs like myself have it harder
    than you probably think. Folks pay a lot of lip
    service to care and love and how special we all
    are, but the fact is theres a long waiting list
    for very wealthy potential owners all vying for a
    select few of us, so right from birth were
    raised and constantly groomed by our breeders to
    be the most profitable fashion accessory that we
    can be for their very exclusive clientele. If it
    turns out that youre not cute enough, or cute in
    the wrong way, you get sent either to the pound
    or to visit some guy in Wyoming who sells
    novelty taxidermy Thats a lot of pressure to
    be adorable (Redmalm, 2011 126)

Fashion accessories
Explaining transformation
  • Franklin modernity and post-modernity
  • Bulliet domesticity and post-domesticity

  • Shift in human-animal relations since the 1970s
  • Before this relations between humans and animals
    were sympathetic but instrumental and
    anthropocentric, human progress was privileged
  • After this more empathetic, decentred
    relationships, stronger emotional and moral
    content, humans no longer privileged

  • Misanthropy
  • Ontological insecurity
  • Risk reflexivity

  • Pre-domesticity
  • Domesticity
  • Post-domesticity

  • Late 20th century emergence of alternative view
    point greater interest in and empathy with
    animals of all sorts and a questioning of the
    primacy of human interests in the human-animal
  • These changes are peculiar to the
    English-speaking world (Britain, US, Australia
    and Canada) and this needs some explanation.
  • He looks for it in historical processes (hes a
    historian) and argues that post-domesticity is
    most advanced where there is no recent history of

Bulliets argument
  • New forms of human-animal relations linked to the
    separation of most of human population from
    animal reproduction and animal slaughter
  • The commodification of animals in meat production
  • The separation and commodification much more
    effective where theres no recent tradition of
  • Associated with greater empathy with animals

  • Animals especially horses were a critical
    source of power during the process of
    industrialisation horse power was a necessary
    basis for the success of mechanisation in
    agriculture and industry.
  • Now animals are not used in production but are
    consumed for leisure and food theres been a
    shift from animal involvement in production to
    their involvement in consumption from beasts of
    burden to fashion accessories.
  • 3. This is explained by Franklin as a shift from
    modernity to post-modernity, by Greene as being
    gendered (masculine world of work to feminine
    world of play), by Bulliet as a shift to