Signs are everywhere – there can be no escaping them. From the speed limit signs on our roads, to fire exits, and the signs that tell us not to smoke, signs can take many forms that help us navigate the world and instruct us how to behave. They also say something about the world in which we live.Continue reading
There’s a pandemic on don’t you know.
Or maybe you don’t: that’s the problem. Across the globe now, millions of birds have died, and many more have been put to slaughter in order to try and curb the spread of the deadly strain of bird-flu that has ravaged its way through swathes of the global bird population.Continue reading
As we all set ourselves up for weeks, or even months, of self-isolation, never has there been a better time to think about rules, and the reasons we do the things that we do.
While the UK government has imposed new rules, telling us that we need to stay at home, these rules are only ever an approximation of the ideal rule, which in this case, is the idea that everyone needs to stay at home. The issue here is that while universal isolation is all well and good in theory, we still need health workers and we still need to keep the electricity flowing and the water running.Continue reading
I was somewhat surprised this week to see a post on social media announcing that a dog has received a staff ID card at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU).
While I have no problem with dogs on campus, or indeed the work of Justice Support Dogs International (JSDI), I do find the fact that a dog should receive a human staff ID card somewhat unsettling. This is because it serves to further enshrine a biopolitical discourse surrounding the human and the animal, and goes to show the power of major institutions to dictate the terms on which we define what constitutes the human and the animal.
While some readers may find the news about Oliver fairly innocuous, or even quite fun, the problem is not the card itself, but what the card represents, and the border for inclusion that places a dog above those not included within the formalised university group. In this case, Oliver the dog has more rights than many human employees at the same institution, even though he is incapable of exercising the same human responsibilities that form a part of the membership contract.
In this way, Oliver the Justice Dog reveals something of the operation of power within the biopolitical state through the very act of his exclusory-inclusion within the category of the human. Continue reading
Following on from my last blog on humans, animals and the language of life and death, I thought I’d expand a little on the issues surrounding dangerous dogs, and that most outcast of all animals, the banned dangerous dog.
According to the UK government website, it is against the law to own certain types of dog. These are:
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brasiliero
It’s also against the law to:
- Sell a banned dog
- Abandon a banned dog
- Give away a banned dog
- Breed from a banned dog
If you are in possession of a banned dog, either knowingly or unknowingly, there is very little you can do. You cannot keep it, you cannot get rid of it – indeed the dog is condemned to death from its very birth. To explore the unique position held by the banned dangerous dog, we can conduct a simple thought experiment Continue reading