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Human and Nonhuman Animals, Mutually at Risk: A Study of the Swiss Information Media

Published in Society & Animals. 2011, vol. 19, no. 4, p. 337-355
Abstract Nowadays, the relationships between nonhuman animals and humans are debated, often around issues associated with the risks they represent for each other. On one hand, new diseases and accidents indicate that animals are not as innocuous as they long were thought; on the other hand the now questioned human impact on the natural environment is considered as a risk for animals. We analysed these contrasted images of animals in the Swiss information media. Among the five main animal figures we identified over the last 30 years, we focus here on the Undesirable Animal and the Victim Animal. These two figures have been present throughout the observed period; however next to a fairly low presence of victim Animals, undesirable Animals have been more and more present in the last decade, around some specific issue (such as the avian flu). This suggests that the media more often convey the dominant anthropocentric relationship to animals, preoccupied with the protection of humans against dangerous animals, whereas the protection of animals from humans is considered less important. However recent controversies show that the frontier between ‘us’ and ‘them’ is regularly re-negotiated.
Keywords Information mediaNonhuman animal representationsRiskUndesirable animalsVictim animals
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Project Mandat Office vétérinaire fédéral (2007-2009)
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BURTON-JEANGROS, Claudine, DUBIED, Annik. Human and Nonhuman Animals, Mutually at Risk: A Study of the Swiss Information Media. In: Society & Animals, 2011, vol. 19, n° 4, p. 337-355. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:32830

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Deposited on : 2014-01-07

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