Non-human animals are ubiquitous in human lives and spaces. However, they are often overlooked and made invisible. This invisibility has increasingly been questioned, as over the last four decades, the so-called animal turn has brought the complex and contradictory relationship that humans develop with non-human animals to the forefront of the scientific and political debate.
This movement was two-fold. On the one hand, it focused on the need to (re)think sustainable and healthy ways of feeding an increasingly growing world population. On the other hand, it stemmed in part from social forces such as the animal rights’ movement, or the scientific community, following the 2012 signature of the Declaration of Cambridge, which acknowledged the existence of animal’s suffering and conscience.
These movements put additional pressure on the need to look after animal welfare and prevent animal suffering. As a result, the animal question has been acknowledged as a central topic in the study of humans’ lives, in topics as different as agricultural and biotechnological production of animals, food, clothing and other consumer practices, kinship and family lives, children’s worlds, education, art and popular culture, among others. This has called for a redefinition of our way of looking at the human/non-human bond, to encompass the worlds of non-human animals and the specificities of their relations with humans and the habitats they live in (natural and human-made).
The ubiquity of animals in human lives has hence unveiled their embeddedness in social dynamics once thought to be exclusively human: social inequalities and oppression, crime and abuse, the distribution in space and differences between rural and urban, consumption, leisure and culture, science and experimentation, and social and political life.
The HAS Hub@ICS-ULisboa aims at tackling the relations between human and non-human animals, looked at as a naturecultures. Non-human animals are considered actors in full right, active and decisive in the co-production of the hybrid communities, inhabited by both humans and nonhumans. It comprises researchers with diverse backgrounds (sociology, anthropology, social psychology, psychology, biology, geography, among others), institutions, interests and fields of research.