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Ritual, Reason And Animals

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Chapter Summary

Animal performances, broadly defined, are those activities enacted by animals and staged by humans for public display. The performative as an aspect of animal enactments is central to the complex interrelationship between humans and animals in society, as are the ways in which these interrelations are integrated into public performances. It is further argued that particular dimensions of this performance can be explored within the contexts of time and space, social and spatial regulation, and issues of power. Such performances are shaped by the opportunities and constraints against which reciprocal human-animal interaction occurs, and are informed by the symbolic meanings and spatial organization surrounding such interactions. Having proposed that spaces and places constitute stages, it is suggested that the form of space, its organization, materiality, and aesthetic and sensual qualities can influence the kinds of performances that animals exhibit, although not in any predictable and deterministic fashion.

Keywords:animal performances; human-animal interaction; spatial regulation



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