Performing expertise in human–animal relationships: performative instability and the role of counterperformance

N. Schuurman, Alex Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)
82 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This paper explores how the human–animal relationship is used to inform the construction of expertise about how best to manage relationships with animals. It pays particular attention to how the material practices of horse training can be understood as performative of human–animal relationships, animality, and the boundary between humans and animals. Drawing on an analysis of commercial videos of natural horsemanship, the paper shows how acts of animal counterperformance are actively used by some trainers to strengthen a performance and, in so doing, enhance the construction of expertise. Setting counterperformance in the context of space, though, the paper also highlights the ongoing ‘risky’ and unstable nature of human–animal relationships and the potential this creates for the performance of expertise in human–animal relations to be challenged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-34
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Volume33
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015

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expertise
animal
horse
performance
video
material
analysis

Keywords

  • performativity
  • expertise
  • counterperformance
  • human–animal relationship
  • animality
  • horsemanship

Cite this

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