Select Page

Stuart, D., & Gunderson, R. (2018). Nonhuman Animals as Fictitious Commodities: Exploitation and Consequences in Industrial Agriculture. Society & Animals.

This paper examines how nonhuman animals, along with land and labor, represent fictitious commodities as described by Karl Polanyi. Animals in agriculture are examined as an extreme example of animal commodification whose use resembles the exploitation of land and labor. Conceptual frameworks developed from Marxist theory, including the subsumption of nature, the second contradiction of capitalism, and alienation, are applied to illustrate how the negative impacts to animals, the environment, and public health associated with animal agriculture are caused by attempts to overcome the incomplete commodification of animals. This paper illustrates how social theory can be extended to apply to animals, especially animals who are deeply embedded in human society. The inclusion of animals in social analyses also serves to strengthen our overall understanding of exploitation and oppression under capitalism.

Note: To read Society & Animals articles, you must either get a subscription to Society & Animals, which ASI scholar members get a discount for, or you can access it through a university account, or by purchasing the individual article from the publisher. Per our agreement with the publisher, once the article is three years old we will be able to add it to our archive of journal articles that is available to Scholar, Student, and Professional members. These archives contain the entire body of articles (minus the past three years) for both of the journals we edit, Society & Animals and Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Unless otherwise noted, all content on this website is copyright © 2018 The Animals and Society Institute. Please visit https://www.animalsandsociety.org/about-asi/website-reprint-and-use-policies to find out more about our reprint and use policies.

Share Us Online