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Abstract

This article presents the results of a combined archaeological and cultural anthropological study of 170 horse burials at a pet (companion animal) cemetery in Mikonkangas, Oulu, Finland. The applied methods include archaeological documentation, interviews with the horse caretakers, and visits to the site. Contrary to socially and legislatively controlled human burial grounds with organized maintenance, companion animal cemeteries with their inherent do-it-yourself character are often displays for more spontaneous expressions of grief and longing. The evidence of remembrance varies from nearly unmarked graves to elaborate memorials with headstones, epitaphs, flowers, and personal objects. The thought of a reunion in the afterlife is evident in some of the epitaphs and could also have influenced the use of crosses and angel symbols on some of the graves.

In: Society & Animals
Author: Umut Bozkurt

Abstract

This article aims to analyse state–bourgeoisie relations in the era of AKP-rule in Turkey, with a specific focus on the 2018 economic crisis. It will discuss the following question: How did the AKP regime position itself with respect to the interests of the first- and second-generation bourgeoisie? Especially after 2010, the AKP was criticised for carrying out an extra-economic intervention in the sphere of accumulation as well as providing benefits to the Islamic second-generation bourgeoisie. This article draws on a Marxist conceptualisation of the state which underlines that the state’s autonomy from the economy is limited because its continued existence depends on the reproduction of accumulation, hence its need to intervene. However, the state cannot implement a unified interventionist strategy because it needs to maintain links with different groups of bourgeoisie as well as the proletariat. The article’s main argument is that the AKP struggled to balance the divergent interests of the first- and second-generation bourgeoisie and implemented policies that may be characterised as incoherent and contradictory. These contradictory policies also played an important role in the 2018 economic crisis.

In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

Anthropomorphic nonhuman animals figure prominently in children’s literature, teaching young readers relevant life lessons and adding variety, humor, and emotional distance to safely consider otherwise traumatizing ideas. Despite its educational and developmental value, however, using animal characters to tell human stories normalizes the very same mechanisms that adult humans use to subjugate real animals. Bringing animal-studies insights to bear on children’s literature and development, this article critiques the use of anthropomorphism in children’s books and urges that, short of the unrealistic demand to abandon the animal as metaphor, young readers and their adult mentors reread children’s books critically and discuss ways of making animals matter. The article examines the debate about anthropomorphism in science and its application to childhood development. It then turns to the pros and cons of anthropomorphizing animals in children’s books and discusses specific examples of books featuring anthropomorphic animal characters.

In: Society & Animals
Author: Rachel Warner

Abstract

This literary analysis of Toni Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye (1970), answers the call issued by scholars in the growing interdisciplinary field of animal studies to privilege nonhuman animal others as its central analytical focus. It thus examines the productive and harmful overlaps between Black subjects and animality and determines how Morrison speaks to both a history of racist dehumanization as well as manners of ameliorating such oppression. In prioritizing the intersection of human subjectivity and nonhuman others, the article explores new models for human-animal relationships, including animals as sensual partners and animals as looking subjects. Ultimately, this article looks to Morrison’s canonical novel portraying the scapegoating practices that can destroy Black girlhood to unearth the profound significance of nonhuman others to language, history, and communities.

In: Society & Animals

Abstract

Proponents of a monetary interpretation of Marx’s theory of value (monetäre Werttheorie) argue that one cannot estimate the amounts of socially necessary labour time that lie behind the prices, an interpretation usually ascribed to the West German Neue Marx‑Lektüre. As Hans-Georg Backhaus began fleshing out his monetary interpretation in the early 1970s, he referred explicitly to debate among economists in early‑1960s East Germany about the possibility of estimating quantities of labour value in terms of commodities’ labour content. In fact, scholars who articulated a powerful position in the latter discussion closely approximated the Neue Marx-Lektüre’s ‘monetary interpretation’. They held that expressing labour value in terms of labour time is impossible: the substance of value is not a measurable quantity of labour time but, rather, a social relation. Hence, it is problematic that Neue Marx-Lektüre adherents today should maintain an inaccurate contrast between their reading of Capital and that of ‘traditional Marxism’.

In: Historical Materialism
In: Historical Materialism

Abstract

The present article deals with different Marxist theories on the Soviet experience, which emerged in post-Soviet Russophone Marxist or neo-Marxist scholarship (concurrently with some reference to Marxist traditions in other former Eastern Bloc countries). The article demonstrates that these theories – if we leave the remaining ‘Marxist-Leninists’ of the classical Soviet type aside and focus on critical, post-Soviet Marxism – may be classified as either ‘fundamentally rejectionist’ or ‘Thermidorian’. The former, in line with the seminal criticisms of K. Kautsky and other early opponents of Lenin, reject the socialist nature of the October 1917 Revolution outright. The latter mostly define the Revolution as at least socialist-oriented, but further bifurcate into different varieties of the ‘state capitalism’ thesis with a number of theorists defining Stalinist societies as special varieties of post-revolutionary industrialism essentially different from orthodox capitalism. Most critical post-Soviet Marxists agree, however, that the main vector of Soviet-type regimes’ evolution indeed pointed towards increased class stratification. However, it should be remembered that Soviet-type bureaucracy was a class-in-the-making rather than a class-in-itself or a class-for-itself, and this point is further elaborated in the works of those theorists who prioritise the differences rather than similarities between Soviet-type industrialism and orthodox capitalism.

In: Historical Materialism
Author: Daniela Russ

Abstract

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the relation between Marxism and the Soviet productivist economy. While historical scholarship rarely explores the intellectual context in which the Soviet experiment unfolded, ecomarxists tend to describe the Soviet Union’s mistaken path as a result of the loss of ‘metabolic’ thinkers following the rise of Stalin. This article challenges the neat, purported divide between a ‘metabolic’ and ‘productivist’ Marxism by analysing the energy-economic thinking of Gleb M. Krzhizhanovskii, a Bolshevik engineer and old friend of Lenin. As chairman of both the electrification commission (GOELRO) and the State Planning Commission (Gosplan), Krzhizhanovskii conceptualised the energy economy as something embedded in the metabolism of nature and society and as the technical-economic basis of the socialist economy. This argument drew its strength from his idea that production is part of the general, ongoing life-process, and the hope that large-scale electrification and electro-chemistry could help govern the metabolism between nature and society more rationally – both arguments commonly found among contemporary natural scientists. Any ecomarxist attempt to recover the concept of metabolism today has to come to terms with its productivist and technocratic history.

In: Historical Materialism
Volume Editors: Natalie Khazaal and Núria Almiron
The contributors of Like an Animal challenge most fundamental concepts in the fields of racism, dehumanization, borders, displacement, and refugees that rest on the assumption of humanism. They show how we can bend the arc of the moral universe toward justice at the border. The goal of this interdisciplinary collection is twofold. First, to invite border/migration studies to consider a broader social justice perspective that includes nonhuman animals. Second, to start a discussion if nonhumans maybe refugees of a kind and how humans can address nonhumans’ interests and needs from the perspective of addressing refugee issues. As capitalism and the climate crisis are taking a catastrophic toll on the planet, this timely volume exposes the alternative origins of violence that lie at the heart of the planet’s destruction.
Author: Michael Freeden

Abstract

Comparative political thought should focus on exploring and interpreting a flexible, pliant and mutating redistribution and re-assembly of political discourses of ideational and cultural significance across the planet. While exploring their local variants, its role is not simply that of decentring or ‘provincializing’ an era or an historical epoch, but of identifying the major political thought-practices in which all societies engage.

Open Access
In: Comparative Political Theory