Beyond-human research: Negotiating silence, anger & failure in multispecies worlds

Earlier this year, the first paper from my PhD research was published in Emotion, Space and Society Journal as part of a special issue edited by Drs. Thom Davies, Tom Disney, and Elly Harrowell on Reclaiming failure in geography: academic honesty in a neoliberal world. The special issue features articles from geographers from across the world taking ‘failure’ to discuss indigeneity, neoliberalism, action-research, energies, emotions, discomfort, and kindness. These articles speak of, to, and about failure in geographic research in the neoliberal academy respond to Davies, Disney, and Harrowell’s 2017 call to make space for failure as part of our collective learning process.

In my article, I explore silence, anger, and failure in my research with ex-farmed chickens and veganism to propose:

  • Veganism and beyond-human research are always failures across space, time, and species
  • Silence is an open space of possibility where failure and anger coalesce.
  • Anger is destructive of violent worlds and constructive of beyond-human kin.
  • Silence, anger and failure are intimately entangled and implicated beyond the human.
  • Building less violent multispecies worlds require mutual failure as well as mutual flourishing.

This article is a short intervention piece, rather than a full academic article, and as such speaks to the fleeting moments of encounter and flashes of emotion within fieldwork. In the article, my intention is to pay attention to the role of failure as within research processes with animals to explore the implications of silence and anger as a failure of mutual flourishing, where more often the focus is on successful becoming-togethers. You can read the full article here, or alternatively if you do not have institutional access, contact me through this website and I can share a preprint copy.

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