A comprehensive, interdisciplinary analysis of the fate of animals in the twenty-first century Anthropocene era
The Next Social Contract
Animals, the Anthropocene, and Biopolitics
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In his provocative book The Next Social Contract, Wayne Gabardi rigorously considers the fate of animals in the twenty-first century. He claims that if we are to address the challenges raised by the Anthropocene—the period where nonhuman beings tend to be mere extras, often subsumed under the umbrella notion of "nature"—we need to radically rethink our basic ethical outlook and develop a new, "more-than-human" social contract.
Gabardi's wide-ranging and multidisciplinary analysis focuses on four principal battlegrounds of animal biopolitics in the twenty first century: the extinction of wild animals, the crisis of oceanic animals, industrialized farm animals and the future of industrial agribusiness, and the situation of contact-zone animals moving into human-occupied habitats.
In his recasting of the social contract, Gabardi envisions a culture shift in human-animal relations toward posthumanism that features the ethical and political prioritization of animal life so it is on par with that of human well-being.
"Wayne Gabardi seeks to expand the scope of animal studies to include a wide variety of problems that are often overlooked. Among the chief merits of The Next Social Contract are Gabardi's wise focus on a broad range of human-animal relationships and his efforts to ground ethics in a rich, coevolutionary context. To build his argument, Gabardi marshals an impressive number of thinkers, texts, and traditions—from biology and ecology to analytic and continental philosophy. This synthetic approach represents the very best kind of work in the interdisciplinary field of animal studies. The Next Social Contract makes an essential contribution to the discipline."
Introduction • The Argument and Structure of the Book
Wayne Gabardi is Professor of Political Theory and Honors Program Faculty at Idaho State University. He is the author of Negotiating Postmodernism.