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Whale Agency: Affordances And Acts Of Resistance In Captive Environments

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Chapter Summary

Because of the conditions of captive umwelts, analyses of affordances in captive sites may also be particularly productive for understanding and illuminating whale agency and for understanding possible expressions of resistance. With the understandings of agency from ecological psychology and phenomenological biology, this chapter discusses the affordances of aquariums the author investigated during recent fieldwork in Orlando, Florida. She observed distinct opportunities for action for humans and dolphins at Dolphin Cove, located in the Sea World, Orlando theme park. The chapter focuses on the affordances associated with the wall surrounding the pool, which come into being through the touch-and-feed interactions. By focusing on the dolphins and expressions of their individual agency in relation to the wall, the chapter shows how these physical properties also afforded the bottlenose dolphins opportunities to avoid interactions of touching and feeding.

Keywords: affordances; captive umwelts; ecological psychology; phenomenological biology; whale agency



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