Category Archives: Sociological Perspectives

Open letter urges the American Sociological Association to include nonhuman animals

There was a recent open letter to the American Sociological Association to “encourage ASA and its membership to expand their sociological imaginations to incorporate and evaluate our relationships to other animals… Regardless of production conditions, the consumption of other animals’ flesh, milk, and eggs represents a relationship of oppression that ignores other animals’ interests in living free of human dominion.”

One of the authors of the letter, David Nibert, calls ideological conditioning an “essential requirement for oppressive social arrangements. Oppression requires rationalization and legitimation; that is, it must appear as the right thing to do, both to the oppressing group and in the eyes of others. A set of ideas that devalues an entire group – an ideology, such as racism, sexism, or speciesism – thus is socially constructed… Over time, these socially constructed ideas will come to be accepted as real and true, and the ‘lower’ or ‘special’ position of the oppressed group will be viewed as the natural order of things.” (Animal Rights/Human Rights, p. 13)

You can read the whole letter on the ASA site. “Animal Exploration”, open letter to the ASA (p. 14)