Volume 5, Number 1 - Fall 2013

Eva Meijer

Political Communication with Animals

Abstract. -- In this article I sketch the outlines of a theory of political human-animal conversations, based on ideas about language that I borrow from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s later work, in particular his notion of language-games. I present this theory as a supplement to the political theory of animal rights Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka present in Zoopolis (2011). I will argue their political theory is an important step forward in the debate about animal rights, because it proposes to see animals as political actors, but it lacks a theory of political communication, which leads to conceptual and practical problems; if we see animals as political actors, we need to think about (human-) animal languages, political animal voice and human-animal conversations. This means we need to study human-animal language-games, it also means we also need to reconsider the meaning and scope of (political and non-political) concepts and institutions, as well as invent new concepts and institutions, together with the animals.