Djurens skepnader : Närhet och distans i diskurs och livsvärld

Sammanfattning: This dissertation is concerned with the relationship between humans and animals. In particular, it explores human relations to farm animals, and especially cattle. The empirical and theoretical work is concerned with how animals appear in discourses and how they form part of human life worlds. Three debates about recent animal-related issues are examined: the introduction of the cattle breed Belgian Blue in Sweden, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, also known as the ?mad cow disease?), and the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001. These issues are primarily described from a Swedish perspective and the material is mainly taken from Swedish news media. This material is used to discuss animals in discourse. A qualitative interview study with cattle farmers in southern Sweden has been carried out in order to discuss the relations between humans and animals that become possible when the animals are part of everyday human life. Subjects like what processes and factors affect our understanding of animals, how different attitudes and behaviours toward animals are justified, and how we perceive and acquire knowledge about them are investigated. The theoretical framework of the empirical study and the subsequent discussion are inspired by social constructivism and discourse theory on the one hand, and existential phenomenology on the other.

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