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Papers - more detailed items such as lecture papers or published pieces

What is an animal?

porcupineIn addition to biological and ecological answers, the animal needs to be explored in its psychological and social dimensions. The animal has long been a symbol of human psyche and culture, from fairy tales to horror films, Oedipal pets to animal phobias, scapegoating and large-group symbols, philosophy to ideology and myth. This article explores animal symbols, totems and taboos, and their interaction with non-human nature, through the perspective of ecopsychoanalysis (Dodds 2011), combining, psychoanalytic, eco(psycho)logical and Deleuze-Guattarian modes of thought. Three animal-types are identified, and these are placed within Guattari’s ‘three ecologies’ of mind, society, and nature, seen as in constant, complex nonlinear interaction with one another. Expanding Bion’s ‘binocular vision’, we need to include along with individual psychology and social dynamics interactions with non-human nature. How does an idea or a phantasy impact on an ecosystem or social system? How do our own minds shudder upon collision with the hyperobject of climate change? These are some of the core concerns that ecopsychoanalysis seeks to address.

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