Beyond‐human ethics:The animal question in institutional ethical reviews

Oliver, Catherine (2021) Beyond‐human ethics:The animal question in institutional ethical reviews. Area, 53 (4). pp. 619-626. ISSN 0004-0894

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Abstract

In this paper, I investigate how the development of ethics and methods in beyond human and posthuman research have largely been ignored within institutional ethical frameworks. Specifically, I argue that the ethical review process for research needs critical consideration in light of emerging multispecies methodologies. The inclusion and consideration of animals in geography should go further than “bringing animals in” to the discipline; instead they must seek to rethink geographical theory as with and for non-humans. The ethics, politics, and practices of animals’ inclusion in research have been differentially attended to across geographical scholarship. To do this, I investigate how institutional ethical review operates as a disciplining and shaping tool in the neoliberal university. In doing so, I contend that ethical review processes shape the narratives and structures of what kinds of research are possible for not only animal geographers, but across the discipline. I then explore how multispecies research specifically is affected by and can affect institutional ethical review, revealing how these processes fall short against the heightened backdrop of species difference. Where posthumanist ethics is in tension with institutional ethical frameworks, I argue that ethical approval does not necessarily indicate that researchers have successfully grappled with complex moral dilemmas. Particularly, the acquiring of ethical approval prioritises outmoded forms of knowledge that prioritise homogenised ethical and methodological practice over ethical innovation and questioning. Finally, I offer three propositions drawing on posthumanist ethics and informed by innovative and exploratory multispecies research: the inclusion of animals as participants in research; the reimagination of multispecies ethical and methodological practice; and the reform of institutional ethical review processes. By exploring how radical ethics might be mobilised in multispecies research, I argue that we can further geographical theory and practice to reconfigure who matters as a geographical and ethical subject.

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Journal Article
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Area
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ID Code:
176751
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Deposited On:
04 Oct 2022 11:40
Refereed?:
Yes
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Published
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 11:53