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Djurisk agens: Andra djurs agens i reseskildringar från 1600-talet
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of historical, philosophical and religious studies.
2019 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Animal Agency : Other animals’ agency in travelogues from the 17th century (English)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of this study was to examine how a few travellers described animal agency in travelogues from the 17th century, printed in Swedish language. Because the aim of this paper was to study animal agency, the posthumanist perspective was chosen to analyse how the travellers both objectified animals and described certain animals to be able to express free agency. Furthermore, the study also examines how the travellers interpreted the animal’s free agency.

First, the results show that animals were objectified in situations where animals functioned as economic resources, which also has been shown in previous research. Animals were objectified as tools, food, means of transportation and commodities.

Second, the study shows that larger predators, the chameleon, the elephant and larger apes, were described to be able to express free agency. The larger predators exercised agency outside human living quarters and was interpreted negatively because of the danger they posed. This has also been shown in previous research.

Third, and most important, the results indicate that humans didn’t view all animals the same. The travellers seem to have thought that certain animal individuals in certain situations could express free agency. For example, specific crocodiles were described to be able to choose whether to attack humans or not. They could also play with each other, which indicates that the author thought that the specific crocodile had emotions. Moreover, the elephant was described to be able to make its own decisions and only lacked the human ability to speak. In addition, the larger apes were deemed to be able to comprehend abstract concepts and act on conscious intention, like the elephant. Also, although the apes didn’t speak, they were believed to be able to. This shows that the travellers thought that specific animals could express free agency in given situations and had many so-called human abilities.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 45
Keywords [en]
Sweden, 17th century, Human animal relations, Animal agency
Keywords [sv]
Djur, agens, 1600-talet, människa-djur, relation mellan djur och människor, reseskildring
National Category
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-163511OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-163511DiVA, id: diva2:1353848
Subject / course
History
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Available from: 2019-09-24 Created: 2019-09-24 Last updated: 2019-09-24Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • asciidoc
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