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The legal investigation of nonhuman life – and of the animal question in particular – is typically considered via a reformist discourse of animal rights. Within this discourse, legal rights have been extended to certain nonhuman animals through the same liberal framework that has afforded human rights before it. This interdisciplinary collection proposes a new subject of inquiry: lively legalities. The contributors – scholars from a variety of backgrounds and disciplinary orientations – envision the possibility of legal frameworks that might move beyond a humanist perspective.
The book asks what, in legal terms, it means to be human and nonhuman, what it means to govern and to be governed, and what are the ethical and political concerns that emerge in the project of governing not only human but also more-than-human life. While the contributors take nonhuman animals as a departure point, they recognize that the questions articulated above also apply to non-animal life forms, aggregations of life, and ecological processes.
Drawing on a vast array of expertise—from law, geography, and anthropology, through animal studies and posthumanism, to Science and Technology Studies—the contributors consider the vast possibilities of lively legalities: which is to say the myriad ways of living in the world, their inherent interconnections, and their manifestations in, and constitutions of, law.