Returning the Look

Emotion, Encounter, and Inter-Subjectivity in Wildlife Films

In: Society & Animals
View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Anthropology, School of Social Sciences Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

It has been argued that a contemporary penchant for wildlife images serves to cloak the various destructive impacts human actions have on nonhuman animals, as well as to distract us from our ever-decreasing direct encounters with them. However, this form of media has also demonstrated its effectiveness as a method for communicating conservation messages to the wider public. This paper seeks to examine this tension through an analysis of a famous reunion clip from the documentary Christian the Lion (1971), exploring how audiences have reacted to this clip through a selection of YouTube comments and asking what these comments can tell us about contemporary ideas relating to human/animal inter-subjectivity.

  • Alger J. M. & Alger S. F. Cat culture, human culture: An ethnographic study of a cat culture Society & Animals 1999 7 3 199 218

  • Bagust P. Screen natures: Special effects and edutainment in ‘new’ hybrid wildlife documentary Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 2008 22 2 213 226

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bengtsson S. Faraway, so close! Proximity and distance in ethnography online Media, Culture and Society 2014 36 6 862 877

  • Berger J. About Looking 1980 London Writers and Readers 3 28

  • Bousé D. Are wildlife films really “nature documentaries”? Critical Studies in Mass Communication 1998 15 2 116 140

  • Bousé D. Wildlife Films 2000 Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Press

  • Burt J. Animals in Film 2002 London Reaktion Books

  • Burt J. John Berger’s “Why Look at Animals?”: A close reading Worldviews 2005 9 2 203 218

  • Candea M. “I fell in love with Carlos the meerkat”: Engagement and detachment in human-animal relations American Ethnologist 2010 37 2 241 258

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chambers C. N. L. “Well its remote, I suppose, innit?” The relational politics of bird-watching through the cctv lens Scottish Geographical Journal 2007 123 2 122 134

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Christian the Lion Last accessed 05/08/13 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4enNZqNrwYc

    • Export Citation
  • Fijn N. Filming the significant other: Human and non-Human The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 2007 8 4 297 307

  • Haraway D. When Species Meet 2008 Minneapolis University of Minnesota Press

  • King M. J. The audience in the wilderness Journal of Popular Film & Television 1996 24 2 60 68

  • Kirksey S. & Helmreich S. The emergence of multispecies ethnography Current Anthropology 2010 25 4 545 576

  • Lippit A. M. Electric Animal: Toward a Rhetoric of Wildlife 2000 Minneapolis University of Minnesota Press

  • Lorimer J. Multinatural geographies for the Anthropocene Progress in Human Geography 2012 36 5 593 612

  • Milton K. Knight J. Anthropomorphism or egomorphism? The perception of non-human animals by human ones Animals in person 2005 Oxford Berg

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mitman G. Reel Nature: America’s Romance with Wildlife on Film 1999 Seattle University of Washington Press

  • Nekaris K. A. I., Campbell N., Coggins T. B., Rode E. J. & Nijman V. Tickled to death: Analysing public perceptions of ‘cute’ videos of threatened species (Slow Lorises—Nycticebus spp.) on Web 2.0 Sites PLoS ONE 2013 8 7 e69215

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Okwonga M. Has ‘fake’ polar bear footage ruined Frozen Planet? The Guardian 2011 Retrieved April 22, 2013, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/dec/12/polar-bear-footage-frozen-planet

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Palmer C. Shooting in the Wild: An Insider’s Account of Making Movies in the Animal Kingdom 2010 San Francisco Sierra Club Books

  • Pierson D. P. “Hey, they’re just like us!” Representations of the Animal World in the Discovery Channel’s Nature Programming The Journal of Popular Culture 2005 38 698 712

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rijsdijk I. R. Between a croc and a herd place: Battle at Kruger and nature interpretation Communicatio: South African Journal for Communication Theory and Research 2010 36 3 359 370

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Travers B. Christian the lion [Motion Picture] 1971 United Kingdom Morningstar Productions

  • Wollaston S. tv review: David Attenborough’s Africa 2013 Last accessed 04/22/13 Retrieved from http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2013/jan/02/tv-review-david-attenborough-africa

    • Export Citation

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 175 104 8
Full Text Views 200 28 0
PDF Downloads 32 13 0