Special Issue "Communication in Defense of Nonhuman Animals during an Extinction and Climate Crisis"

A special issue of Journalism and Media (ISSN 2673-5172).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 February 2022) | Viewed by 14776

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Carrie P. Freeman
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Communication, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303, USA
Interests: environmental communication; critical animal studies; social movement advocacy; media ethics
Prof. Núria Almiron
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Communication, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: critical animal and media/communication studies; interest groups and strategic communication; media and communication ethics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As modern science and critical scholarship are recognizing nonhuman animals as fellow subjects and conscious, sentient beings with interests deserving of respect, moral dilemmas abound as humanity acknowledges the threats our activities pose to human and nonhuman animal life, including the sixth mass extinction and anthropogenic climate change. In this Special Issue, we aim to focus on the impact this environmental havoc is having on nonhuman animals living in nature (including those free roaming animals who coexist in our urban spaces) and the vital role that media and communication play in contributing to and remedying these crises. We invite concerned scholars to explore how issues affecting “wildlife” are constructed in media discourses or perceived and acted upon by media audiences/publics (media is broadly defined to include journalism, film and television, advertising, social media, or campaigns). Consider any of the following issues affecting animals in nature to critically interrogate from a communication and representation perspective:

  • Zoonotic diseases, pandemics, and relations between nonhuman animals and human animals;
  • Sixth mass extinction causes and solutions;
  • Agribusiness, fishing, the food industry, or human dietary practices that contribute to the death of animals in nature, extinctions of species, or habitat loss;
  • Alternative human dietary or farming practices, like veganism or veganic farming, seeking reduced or regenerative impacts on ecosystems and their animal inhabitants;
  • Human population growth and/or consumption and effects on animals in nature;
  • Climate crisis and connections with biodiversity loss (or common solutions);
  • Free roaming animals as climate refugees along with human populations;
  • Indigenous perspectives or decolonial approaches to defense of animals in nature;
  • Social movement strategies for wildlife conservation or animal protection (including individual animal welfare);
  • Non-native/introduced/‘invasive’ animal species and humane/just solutions to perceived problems;
  • Compassionate conservation (the application of the principles of do no harm, individuals matter, inclusivity, and peaceful coexistence);
  • Interspecies justice and interspecies ethics approaches related to human and nonhuman animal relationships in nature, including resolution of conflicts;
  • Hunting/killing and fur trapping of animals in nature;
  • Parks/sanctuaries/refuges—legal protection of habitats and biodiverse ecosystems; Half-Earth Project (E. O. Wilson); accommodation with local human community needs;
  • Human displacement of non-domesticated animals by domesticated farmed animals and/or infrastructure/development (weight or mass displacement references);
  • Human and nonhuman animal coexistence in urban environments;
  • Predators/carnivores and perceived threats (including species reintroduction programs);
  • Cultivation of a sense of interdependence or kinship with animals in nature;
  • Anthropomorphism of free roaming animals in productive or unproductive ways; linguistic choices in defining, categorizing, or constructing them as species or as individuals;
  • Zoos/aquariums/and other wildlife captivity facilities and “conservation” efforts.

The editors take a critical animal studies and critical media studies approach and appreciate submissions that contribute to this work by not only respecting individual nonhuman animals as fellow sentient beings but also by providing prescriptions to problems facing animals in nature and offering constructive guidance to communicators.

Prof. Carrie P. Freeman
Prof. Núria Almiron
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journalism and Media is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Papers should be in the range of 6,000 to 9,000 words and Authors should include a literature review section after the introduction section. Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access Special Issue will be waived. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • wildlife
  • biodiversity
  • mass extinction
  • compassionate conservation
  • hunting and fishing
  • zoonotic diseases
  • media
  • representation
  • communication
  • animal rights and protection

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Editors’ Introduction to the Special Issue “Communication in Defense of Nonhuman Animals during an Extinction and Climate Crisis”
Journal. Media. 2022, 3(3), 405-406; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3030028 - 25 Jun 2022
Viewed by 723
Abstract
When honored with the opportunity to edit our first Special Issue in a media journal, we knew that we would concentrate on the subdiscipline of “critical animal and media studies” (CAMS) [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Article
“The Unbearable Green Demon”: A Critical Analysis of Press Representation around the Extermination of Monk Parakeets in Madrid
Journal. Media. 2022, 3(3), 382-404; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3030027 - 21 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1728
Abstract
We examine the press representation of monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) and their population management in Madrid city. To do this, we analyze mentions of this species in six Spanish newspapers for the case of Madrid. We apply a mixed methodology composed [...] Read more.
We examine the press representation of monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) and their population management in Madrid city. To do this, we analyze mentions of this species in six Spanish newspapers for the case of Madrid. We apply a mixed methodology composed of framing, text analysis, and sentiment analysis. This multi-method approach allows us to further examine the framing and word choice of the newspapers, concluding that the press representation of monk parakeets has been biased and non-ethically led. We discuss this outcome by proposing a media representation guided by non-speciesist ethical framings and avoiding the objectification of nonhuman animals. Full article
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Article
Coyote Killing Contests: Persistence of Differences among Oregonians
Journal. Media. 2022, 3(2), 292-308; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3020022 - 15 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1534
Abstract
Management practices of nonhuman animals in nature (“wildlife”) are globally controversial. In some places, individuals believe it should be up to individual landowners to “manage” wildlife. In others, wildlife is seen as belonging to everyone and should be respected, or least hunted ethically. [...] Read more.
Management practices of nonhuman animals in nature (“wildlife”) are globally controversial. In some places, individuals believe it should be up to individual landowners to “manage” wildlife. In others, wildlife is seen as belonging to everyone and should be respected, or least hunted ethically. Wildlife killing contests are legal in most U.S. states. Coyote killing contests take place in many of them and several states have enacted legislation to ban them. In Oregon, efforts have failed three times. This paper is a critical discourse analysis of testimonies in the 2021 Oregon hearings. Opposition to the bill is analyzed according to five psychological rationalizations to unpack the pro-contest arguments as an example of rural resistance. The findings suggest unpacking these as more productive for activist groups when creating strategies to counter pro-killing beliefs. Full article
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Article
‘All Fishing Is Wildlife Poaching:’ Nonhuman Animal Imagery and Mutual Avowal in Racing Extinction and Seaspiracy
Journal. Media. 2022, 3(2), 257-277; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3020020 - 31 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1807
Abstract
Images of nonhuman animals may be effective tools in producing climate concern and empathy for animals, particularly if animals are shown in natural habitats. Visual and narrative analysis of the documentary Racing Extinction identifies a practice of selectively recognizing the individuality of certain [...] Read more.
Images of nonhuman animals may be effective tools in producing climate concern and empathy for animals, particularly if animals are shown in natural habitats. Visual and narrative analysis of the documentary Racing Extinction identifies a practice of selectively recognizing the individuality of certain animals. Despite emphasizing the intrinsic worth of often-marginalized animals, Racing Extinction reproduces the marginalization of domesticated animals raised for consumption and less charismatic marine life. A close reading of the film’s animal imagery also reveals a spatialized bias—visualizing violence against marine life overwhelmingly in China and Indonesia and by comparison associating the U.S. with indirect climate harm rather than the direct killing of animals. Intertwining a decolonial ethic with a critical animal studies perspective, this paper reveals how disjointed imagery of nonhuman animal suffering facilitates racial scapegoating, masks the exploitation of marine life by the U.S. and partitions uneven ethical responsibilities towards nonhuman animals. This is contrasted to the documentary Seaspiracy, which advances a universal, non-speciesist ethic of “mutual avowal”, contextualizing images of violence against marine life in a global frame. Full article
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Article
Becoming More-than-Human: Realizing Earthly Eudaimonia to (E)coflourish through an Entangled Ethos
Journal. Media. 2022, 3(2), 238-253; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3020018 - 25 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1556
Abstract
Organisms across the biosphere are experiencing extinction rates so dire that scientists have marked the Anthropocene as the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. Accordingly, plants and animals, by and large, are not flourishing on this deathly planet. Yet, perhaps it is [...] Read more.
Organisms across the biosphere are experiencing extinction rates so dire that scientists have marked the Anthropocene as the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. Accordingly, plants and animals, by and large, are not flourishing on this deathly planet. Yet, perhaps it is possible for these more-than-humans to thrive––to realize eudaimonia, an ancient Greek concept meaning to flourish by living well––when humans reimagine their relationships with the natural world. In this study, I augment critical animal and media studies with creative cultural studies to arrive at creative/critical animal and media studies. Through this framework, I utilize rhetorical criticism to analyze how the documentary My Octopus Teacher reimagines interspecies relations to offer alternative pathways for earthly eudaimonia, a life approach centered on (e)coflourishing. I find the octopus, through its entangled ethos, teaches the human sensitized compassion with a significant result: the more-than-human octopus transfers her animality to the human who evolves to become more-than-human as well. I offer two arguments: first, contemplating earthly eudaimonia through an entangled ethos creates a space for ecological reflection; this space invites audiences to approach the more-than-human world with sensitized compassion and animality; second, analyzing the documentary through a creative/critical animal and media studies lens offers a unique perspective that foregrounds exploring imaginaries for peaceful, earthly coexistence while maintaining a critical focus against speciesism. Full article
Article
Tiger King and the Exegesis of COVID-19 Media Coverage of Nonhuman Animals
Journal. Media. 2022, 3(1), 99-114; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia3010008 - 20 Jan 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2066
Abstract
Beginning with the premise that the media participates in the manufacturing of the societal consent that enables and perpetuates the systematized exploitation of nonhuman animals, this article explores how media coverage of such nonhuman animals (and of wildlife in particular) during the COVID-19 [...] Read more.
Beginning with the premise that the media participates in the manufacturing of the societal consent that enables and perpetuates the systematized exploitation of nonhuman animals, this article explores how media coverage of such nonhuman animals (and of wildlife in particular) during the COVID-19 crisis may influence our consumption of popular entertainment in a way that centralizes the discussion on the implications of established speciesist practices. I specifically focus on the impact of the first season of Netflix’s successful docuseries Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness, directed by Eric Goode and Rebecca Chaiklin, which was released in March 2020, a key moment in the worldwide management of the pandemic. Tiger King has generated significant controversy because of its languid commitment to a solid conservationist message and to the paradigm of animal advocacy documentaries. However, understanding how and why nonhuman animals were considered newsworthy by COVID-19 media provides us with some interpretative keys through which to reapproach the significance of the show. Analyzing the series’ main themes and motifs in light of the media’s narratives on lockdown, wildlife, and human interference over nature allows us to continue exploring methodologies through which to question the multiple anthropocentric discourses that structure and order societal consent to the existence of zoos. Full article
Article
Jumping the Shark: White Shark Representations in Great White Serial Killer Lives—The Fear and the (Pseudo-)Science
Journal. Media. 2021, 2(4), 584-604; https://doi.org/10.3390/journalmedia2040035 - 13 Oct 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2628
Abstract
Sharks are among the most endangered nonhuman animals on the planet because of industrial fishing, the shark meat and fin trade, expanding recreational fishing, and other anthropogenic causes. White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), the most visible in popular culture, remain vulnerable (VU, [...] Read more.
Sharks are among the most endangered nonhuman animals on the planet because of industrial fishing, the shark meat and fin trade, expanding recreational fishing, and other anthropogenic causes. White sharks (Carcharodon carcharias), the most visible in popular culture, remain vulnerable (VU, IUCN Red List) and understudied, although population recovery is having a measure of success in regions like the Eastern Pacific and the Northern Atlantic of the United States. As numbers rise, Jaws associations also remain in vogue in programming that emphasizes human–wildlife** conflict such as Shark Week’s Great White Serial Killer Lives. Network marketing typically promotes this content by hyping shark science. Textual analysis, however, suggests that exposure to pseudoscientific narratives and unethical fear-inducing images is counterproductive to wider support for conservation programs and public recognition for sharks’ rights to their habitats. Full article
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