Accepted Paper:

Heteronormativity and the co-constitution of homophobic and speciesist oppression  

Authors:

Matthew Cole (Open University)
Kate Stewart

Paper short abstract:

This paper expands on a model of hierarchical relations which focuses on the differential ascription of levels of subjectivity, and the relative invisibility of the experiences of oppressed groups. The model is applied to the co-constitution of speciesism and homophobia and the enforcing of heteronormativity on both human and nonhuman animals.

Paper long abstract:

This paper expands on a conceptual model of oppressive hierarchical relations (Stewart & Cole, 2009) which focuses on the foundational role played by two inter-related social processes: the differential ascription of levels of subjectivity on the one hand, and the invisibilisation of the experiences of oppressed groups on the other. The model has been primarily applied to speciesist human-nonhuman animal relations in Western societies (see for instance Stewart and Cole, 2009), but has also been used in the context of hierarchies of 'race' and gender (Cole and Morgan, forthcoming 2011). In this paper we explore the relevance of this model to the co-constitution of speciesism and homophobia, by examining the enforcing of heteronormativity on both human and nonhuman animals.

This analysis includes a consideration of how 'deviant' sexualities are both invisibilised and objectified in both material and discursive terms, with violent consequences for non-normative humans and other animals. The paper therefore analyses how speciesist and homophobic hierarchies both recall and reinforce each other, for instance through the heteronormative control of the reproductive processes of 'farmed' animals on the one hand, and 'animalizing' discourses of homosexuality on the other. These processes normalise violence against oppressed Others and habituate 'toleration' of differential levels of harm. The paper therefore makes a novel contribution to forging intersectional analyses of hitherto isolated topics of social science investigation.

Panel P21
Discussing speciesism: the moral failings that mark human relationships to non-human animals