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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

The argument that animals are agents is becoming ever more commonplace and forms part of a wider posthumanist intellectual project that reconsiders the power and role of nonhuman forces in both the past and the present. However, according agency to nonhumans raises significant methodological and theoretical issues. Informed by the approaches of Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, and others, this chapter offers an overview of the varied ways in which scholars have attributed agency to animals. After considering how animals have historically been denied agency, it explores how animals are agents imbued with a degree of intentionality. It then investigates how animal agents have physically shaped past and present societies and the problematic nonhuman-agency-as-resistance model. This typology is intended to show that animals possess agency, but that claims of animal agency need to be made carefully to better capture the hybrid world we inhabit.

Keywords: nonhuman, agency, animals, posthumanist, Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, intentionality, resistance

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