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Environmental Values

Compassion, Geography and the Question of the Animal

Julie Matthews

Environmental Values 21 (2012): 125-142. doi: 10.3197/096327112X13303670567215


Derrida asks us to consider the violence we do in the name 'animals'. The violence is both material and symbolic and relies on the elision of internal distinctions between animals. This article is concerned with what constitutes a sufficient response to violence. Animal and feminist geographies challenge instrumental abstractions of space to 'raw materials'; the suppression and/or exclusion of emotional responses to space and place; and document current and alternative engagements with animals and environments. However, to challenge violence they must also address issues of power, ethical dimensions of action, and generate new conceptions of animal-human spatial relations. This article argues for a compassionate geography informed by Derridean philosophy, which reconceptualises and reconstructs animal-human spatial relations and postcolonial ecocriticism, which attends to the colonial politics of images, stories of place, and their imaginative reoccupation.


Compassion, animal-human relations, Derrida, green postcolonialism, postcolonial ecocriticsm

REFERENCES to other articles in Environmental Values:

Editorial: Animal Relations. Emily Brady

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Green Economy, Red Herring. Clive L. Spash

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