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Befriending Your Food: Pigs and People Coming of Age in the Anthropocene

Rhetoric, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA
Soc. Sci. 2019, 8(4), 106; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci8040106
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 23 March 2019 / Published: 31 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue We Are Best Friends: Animals in Society)
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Abstract

Geologists and ecologists report that Earth is undergoing its sixth massive extinction event, an occasion that calls for radical revision of conservation ethics. The biologist Edward O. Wilson has proposed that conservation projects in the Anthropocene should be grounded in biophilia, an evolved, relational (or biocentric) mode of perception that activates aesthetic and affective responses to non-human life alongside cognitive understanding. Because biophilia includes non-rational modes of perception, the nurturing of biophilic conservation ethics cannot fall to ecology alone; imaginative literature, for example, can prompt readers to imagine and work to realize more environmentally friendly roles for humans and, further, can assist in cultivating a conservation ethic suited to current ecological conditions. In particular, coming-of-age novels about friendships between people and pigs offer an alternative to the industrial “pork story” that seeks to gain narrative control of relational norms between people and pigs, at the expense of biodiversity and ecological health. Three such novels published in 2017 depict human–pig friendships, a relational model created by pigs’ shift in status from food to companion animals. In presenting this realignment, the stories facilitate development of a biophilic conservation ethic. View Full-Text
Keywords: biocentrism; biophilia; conservation ethics; friendship; human–animal relationships; narrative ethics; pig; relational ethics; young adult literature biocentrism; biophilia; conservation ethics; friendship; human–animal relationships; narrative ethics; pig; relational ethics; young adult literature
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Trachsel, M. Befriending Your Food: Pigs and People Coming of Age in the Anthropocene. Soc. Sci. 2019, 8, 106.

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