Melanie Bujok- Animals, Women and Hierarchies: Reflections on Power Relations

Abstract: It has been noted by several writers such as Mütherich (2003) that in western thought animals as well as women form the opposite and societal devalued pole to men and, with that, to all characteristics ascribed to men. Even more than women, animals eventually become the antithesis of culture, civilization, reason and progress. This positioning legitimates their subjugation and use as material and symbolic instruments for men’s accumulation of capital. While analysis of social structures and hierarchies has examined why and how women are often deprived of valued resources usable in pursuing social advantage, very few approaches have taken into account the question of how the social structure interacts with and is affected by the human-animal relationship and how animals themselves are located in the social structure. This paper explores the potential of Bourdieu’s approach to power and capital for comparing differences and similarities in the present state of material and symbolic power relations between men and women and between men and animals in western societies.

© DEP ISSN 1824 – 4483

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