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Front. Commun. | doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2019.00035

Tails from Captive Classes: Interspecies Civic Action at the Contemporary Zoo

  • 1Northern Arizona University, United States

In this case study we rearticulate the contemporary zoo to recognize the agency of captive classes. Contemporary zoos catalog the consequences of humans’ ecological choices. We reject the dominant ideologies used to justify captivity (e.g., human safety, rescue, and conservation), in favor of framing zoo’d animals as refugees forced into captivity due to human development and climate change. Through the permeability of zoo exhibit boundaries we analyze resistance from captive, free-living animals, and elemental nature (e.g. water), arguing for a strategic anthropomorphism that privileges intuition as a form of civic action that includes all entities. Moreover, we urge a shift toward a re-imagined model that implicates humans in the plight of the animals kept within zoo walls. This essay provides suggestions for an alternative zoo experience that responds to the resistive communication of more-than-humans.

Keywords: internatural communication, Climate chage, Zoo, alternative symbolics, extinction

Received: 31 Jan 2019; Accepted: 04 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Anabela Carvalho, University of Minho, Portugal

Reviewed by:

Tema Milstein, University of New South Wales, Australia
Tony Adams, Bradley University, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Schutten and Shaffer. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Julie "Madrone" K. Schutten, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, United States, Julie.Schutten@nau.edu