Handbook of Critical International Relations
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Handbook of Critical International Relations

Edited by Steven C. Roach

Comprising a plurality of perspectives, this timely Handbook is an essential resource for understanding past and current challenges to democracy, justice, social and gender equality, identity and freedom. It shows how critical international relations (IR) theory functions as a broad-based and diverse critique of society.
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Chapter 15: Critical animal studies, critical international relations theory, and anthropocentrism

Steven C. Tauber


Critical international relations theory (CIRT) is a useful framework to uncover global injustice, but its anthropocentrism prevents it from fully realizing its vision of worldwide emancipation. The emerging field of critical animal studies (CAS), which extends critical theory to the plight of nonhuman animals, can help CIRT overcome its anthropocentric bias. This chapter develops the connection between CAS and CIRT by first demonstrating CIRT’s anthropocentrism and then covering the nascent IR literature that departs from anthropocentrism. In short, this initial discussion provides the foundation for linking CAS with CIRT. The next two sections summarize how philosophers have considered the status of nonhuman animals, first discussing the field of animal studies in general and then elucidating CAS in particular. The final section explains how CAS complements CIRT through a focus on emotions, and subsequently, applies CAS to two key issues in international relations – violence and sustainable development.

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