The new domestic order: pets as persons and the post-humanist man
Vintila Mihailescu (National School of Political and Administrative Studies)
Paper short abstract:
Beyond recessive trends of human-animal ties in (western) history, (some) animals have been turned recently to “persons”, thus figuring a “new domestic order”. Complementary, the very concept of man was challenged and theorized by rather anti-enlightenment post-humanist thinkers and activists.
Paper long abstract:
"I see the life of the native as utterly devoid of interest or importance, something as remote from me as the life of a dog…" - Malinowski confessed in his Journal. Only some decades latter, Tim Ingold claimed that "animals are not just like persons, they are persons". For 63.2% of the American pet owners, these are indeed members of the family. A "new domestic order" seems to emerge as the outcome of a co-evolution of the family structure and a changing attitude toward animals in general. (Some) animals have been turned not just to "persons", but to subjects of law too - or, at least, to subjects of ethics. In return, the very concept of manhood has been challenged along an anti-enlightenment post-humanist ideology. Following the case study of pets, the paper presents and questions this recent moral standard of the "authentic man" and its enlarged concept of personhood.
Anthropology and the post-enlightenment person