Download PDF by Nicole Shukin: Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times
By Nicole Shukin
The juxtaposition of biopolitical critique and animal studies—two topics seldom theorized together—signals the double-edged intervention of Animal Capital. Nicole Shukin pursues a resolutely materialist engagement with the “question of the animal,” not easy the philosophical idealism that has dogged the query by means of tracing how the politics of capital and of animal lifestyles impinge upon each other in industry cultures of the 20 th and early twenty-first centuries.
Shukin argues that an research of capital’s incarnations in animal figures and flesh is pivotal to extending the exam of biopower past its results on people. “Rendering” refers at the same time to cultural applied sciences and economies of mimesis and to the carnal enterprise of boiling down and recycling animal is still. Rendering’s lodging of those discrepant logics, she contends, indicates a rubric for the severe activity of monitoring the biopolitical stipulations and contradictions of animal capital around the areas of tradition and economy.
From the animal capital of abattoirs and cars, movies and cellphones, to pandemic worry of species-leaping illnesses resembling avian influenza and mad cow, Shukin makes startling linkages among visceral and digital currencies in animal existence, illuminating entanglements of species, race, and exertions within the stipulations of capitalism. In reckoning with the violent histories and intensifying contradictions of animal rendering, Animal Capital increases provocative and urgent questions about the cultural politics of nature.
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Additional resources for Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times (Posthumanities)
Yet it is a risk that I hazard in order to avoid the alternate pitfall of overcompensating for the economic essentialism of Marxist criticism by describing all of social space in terms of a linguistic model of discourse. ”79 Rendering resists both the “sheer culturalism” of reading animals as empty signiﬁers and the converse essentialism of reifying them as natural signs, following Seltzer’s insight that biopower cannot be grasped by approaches that reduce the natural to the cultural, or vice versa.
91 It is in the writings of Deleuze and Guattari, however, that resistance to metaphysical paradigms of Being is formulated as an involuntary force of becoming-animal. ”92 Becoming-animal is not to be confused with actual animals, then, and certainly not with those “Oedipal pets” that represent for Deleuze and Guattari the most contemptible breed of molar, domesticated animal. Nor can becoming-animal be understood without understanding the role that affect plays in the work of Deleuze and Guattari.
106 Derrida’s resistance to the philosophical doxa that language constitutes an absolute boundary between animal and human involves identifying animals with the immanent otherness of logos, something he achieves by suggesting that tropological sites of language, speciﬁcally metaphor, are animal. 107 Derrida is not alone in his fascination with the (ostensible) animal alterity of metaphor, that is, with seeing in ﬁgurative language an affective trace of animality that undermines Western logocentrisms.
Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times (Posthumanities) by Nicole Shukin