University Of Tasmania

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The more-than-human city

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 22:34 authored by Adrian FranklinAdrian Franklin
That the modern city should be a purified space of human habitation, a humanist citadel, constructed for, and by humanity alone, was an implicit assumption in urban studies until recently. We might say that urban studies has always been part of this humanist fantasy since it is hard to find a time when non-human elements and actants were not important to the life chances of cities everywhere. Not surprisingly, in 1970 Ray Pahl paid little attention to the non-human world but since then the politics of the ecologically minded and technical city has been populated by more and more instances of our dealings with what Latour calls the ‘extended democracy’ of other species and things. This paper extends this understanding by showing how many natural forces, species, technologies and materialities became entangled in the social, cultural and political life of contemporary cities. Using illustrations from Asian, European, American and Australasian cities, it shows how environmental and technical forces (such as fire, engineering, theory and flood) become incorporated into the life, subjectivities and structures of modern cities; how animals have become important companions to urbanites whose social bonds have fragmented; how animals and objects have been used to signify contested spaces; how they, together with other material objects and forces, enter into dialectical ‘more-than-human’ politics, how they form and embody the values and interests of particular city groups and how they become the focus and voice of otherwise difficult political, moral and ethical values. It shows, in other words, how they have disturbed the politics of the city creating new, more-than-human political interests and movements around their ‘residency’, lines of flight and alliances with humans.


Publication title

The Sociological Review








School of Social Sciences


Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Place of publication

108 Cowley Rd, Oxford, England, Oxon, Ox4 1Jf

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 The Author

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Other culture and society not elsewhere classified