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Author: Natalie Khazaal

Abstract

Natalie Khazaal describes the key role of speciesism in the production of anti-refugee prejudice and in opposing such prejudice. Since the beginning of the current global refugee crisis in 2011, the media in Europe and the US have amplified a discourse on refugees/(im)migrants as “animals” inspired by speciesism. Does the speciesist human-nonhuman divide similarly affect the media in countries outside the West that host refugees? Informed by Costello’s & Hodson’s interspecies model of prejudice, this chapter examines empirical evidence from news and op-eds in multiple Bulgarian, Arabic, and English-language newspapers from Bulgaria and Lebanon between 2013 and 2019 to answer two questions: (1) Do Bulgarian and Lebanese newspapers use animalization as a tool to produce prejudice against refugees/(im)migrants or as a tool to oppose such prejudice? (2) What are the vocabulary and imagery that make it possible for Bulgarian and Lebanese newspapers to talk about the human-nonhuman divide in this context? The chapter concludes that the analyzed sources use hunting rituals, disgust, and grandstanding to perpetuate the animalization of refugees/(im)migrants, while their attempts to ridicule and oppose animalization protect and reiterate the human-nonhuman divide. These insights matter because they display the global scale of animalization of refugees/(im)migrants, and help theorize how concepts like species and speciesism are essential to the practices of exclusion and differential inclusion that characterize the border politics of the nation-state.

In: Like an Animal: Critical Animal Studies Approaches to Borders, Displacement, and Othering
In: Like an Animal: Critical Animal Studies Approaches to Borders, Displacement, and Othering
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.