Rodin L. Power and Animals: A Foucauldian Theme in Critical Animal Studies


Lika Rodin
PhD, Lecturer, School of Health Sciences, University of Skövde
G-hus, Box 408, 54128 Skövde, Sweden
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Abstract. A critical view on the relationships between humans and animals has become salient both within the public sphere and in academic discussions. An innovative research field – critical animal studies – has emerged to address the related issues. It employs a variety of tools, including theoretical constructs suggested by Michel Foucault. This article focuses on the potential of the Foucauldian tradition to analyze power in human – animal interactions. I review critical research to describe various practices of power – external, internalized, and constitutive – and the proposals related to domination. How animals are treated in different contexts exhibits relations of power. This comprises control and termination, training and shaping, management and biopolitical regulation. Moreover, humans' technologies of self-regulation manifest themselves in the approach to animals and the natural environment more broadly. It is indicated that to address the issue of power in human – animal interactions, recognizing the constructed nature of ontological boundaries is crucial, as well as acknowledging that power runs both within and across those frontiers. The critical approach might draw attention to the interconnectedness and interdependency of humans and nonhumans, as well as to their shared destiny in terms of their positions in the matrixes of domination and control. Whether anthropocentric or posthuman, future social research on animals must account for the critical tradition, social dialogue, and social activism.
Key words: agency, animal rights, discipline, natural environment, regulation.
Citation. Rodin L. Power and Animals: A Foucauldian Theme in Critical Animal Studies. Logos et Praxis, 2022, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 87-96. (in Russian). DOI:

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Power and Animals: A Foucauldian Theme in Critical Animal Studies by Rodin L. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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