Sanctuary Politics and the Borders of the Demos: A Comparison of Human and Nonhuman Animal Sanctuaries
Keywords:Animal Sanctuary, City of Sanctuary, Expanded Sanctuary, Interspecies Relations, Political Animal Philosophy, Political Philosophy
Sanctuary traditionally meant something different for humans and nonhuman animals, but this is changing. Animals are increasingly seen as subjects, and, similar to human sanctuaries, animal sanctuaries are increasingly understood as political spaces. In this article I compare human and nonhuman sanctuaries in order to bring into focus under- lying patterns of political inclusion and exclusion. By investigating parallels and differ- ences I also aim to shed light on the role of sanctuaries in thinking about and working towards new forms of community and democratic interaction, focusing specifically on the role of political agency and voice.
I begin by briefly discussing the political turn in animal philosophy, in which nonhuman animals are conceptualized as political actors. I then discuss ‘Zatopia’, a thought experiment that shows that viewing sanctuaries as separate from larger political structures runs the risk of repeating violence, and I investigate parallels with certain practices and policies in farmed animal sanctuaries. In order to overcome the obstacles thus identified, I turn to the concept ‘expanded sanctuary’, which explicitly focuses on connections between sanctuary and larger political structures. I discuss two examples of expanded sanctuary in which the agency and voices of those seeking or taking sanctuary are foregrounded: VINE Sanctuary, and the Dutch migrant collective WE ARE HERE. In the final section I briefly touch upon the consequences of these con- siderations for our understanding of sanctuary in relation to political membership and reforming communities.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Eva Meijer
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