An Intersectional Social Justice Approach for Liberation
Edited By Anthony J. Nocella, John Sorenson, Kim Socha and Atsuko Matsuoka
8 Engaged Activist Research: Challenging Apolitical Objectivity Lara Drew and Nik Taylor
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Engaged Activist Research
Challenging Apolitical Objectivity
Lara Drew and Nik Taylor
In this chapter we address the eighth principle of Critical Animal Studies (CAS) which points to the need to “reject pseudo-objective academic analysis by explicitly clarifying its normative values and political commitments.” We argue that to make claims of non- or apolitical scholarship is itself an ideological sleight of hand. We recognise that we are not the first to make this claim but point out that it is rarely considered vis-à-vis human-animal scholarship, outside of CAS approaches (see, e.g., Best, Nocella, Kahn, Gigliotti, & Kemmerer, 2007). We explain precisely what is critical about Critical Animal Studies, namely the fact that the concept of the intersectionality of oppression is central to all work in this oeuvre and argue that once this is fully realised, the very idea of writing “objectively” can only be seen as a myth promoted on behalf of the institutions with a vested interest in maintaining the anti-animal status quo.
This chapter stems from our experiences as both activists and scholars and, while we do not discuss this directly, it underpins what follows. We wanted to write this chapter because we feel strongly that activism and scholarship can be complementary. More, we also feel that claims to the contrary—that research must of necessity be objective—are highly problematic for numerous reasons and we return to this argument in some...
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