Chapter 7 Pièce de Resistance

Sartrean Existentialism in Small-Scale Farming

In: Animals Matter: Resistance and Transformation in Animal Commodification
Julien Dugnoille
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In this chapter, a Sartrean existentialist framework will be applied to the experiences of human-nonhuman animal intersubjectivity related to me by a handful of small-scale farmers in England and France. Applying a Sartrean lens to these accounts reveals that when animals resist their own commodification, both the farmer (the “resisted”) and the nonhuman animal (the “resistant”) become engaged in a mutually constitutive existential exchange. The chapter features the argument that some farmers have their subjectivities challenged through the process of animal resistance to their own commodification, and that Sartre’s existentialism is a very potent framework in which to explore not only the psychological struggle but also the transformation process that some scale-farmers experience as a result of this resistance. The chapter shows that these farmers see themselves as witnesses to the fact that individual animals do matter beyond their mere substance, and that awareness needs to be raised for other farmers who face a similar existential struggle.

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