Vol. 14 No. 2 (2021): Climate, Creatures and COVID-19: Environment and Animals in Twenty-First Century Media Discourse
This special issue of Networking Knowledge features much-needed contributions to discussions about environment and ecology, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the increasing urgency of the climate crisis, changed ways of working, communicating, and thinking and being in the world. These interventions are provided by postgraduate and early-career researchers from a range of disciplines and cover a range of subjects, all relevant to reflecting on the pre-COVID-19 world and what we might still perceive as a ‘normal’ to be returned to or reconfigured, the events of the pandemic and lockdown, and/or constructions of the future, and the kind of recovery that is desirable and achievable. Maki Eguchi analyses a Japanese TV drama and its portrayal of pre-pandemic dairy farming, while Catherine Price considers genetically modified animals and the rhetorical construction of monstrosity. Lynda M Korimboccus asks us to consider animals in children’s television, and the hypocrisy and cognitive dissonance of ham sandwiches in Peppa Pig lunchboxes. Xin Zhao questions how the notion of ‘public’ is constructed in the reporting of environmental justice policy in China, and Callum Bateson describes how the stories of Máiréad Ní Mhionacháin can help us to think about the importance of environmental belonging and the impact of colonialism in the Anthropocene. Tayler Zavitz and Corie Kielbiski juxtapose Bong Joon Ho’s Okja (2017) and Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2013) to analyse the power of entertainment media in creating attitudes about animal rights and welfare activism. Nivedita Tuli and Azam Danish show the role of Instagram in environmental justice, and how the platform can distort and appropriate environmental and animal rights and welfare campaigns into personal celebrity, marketing and other political agendas. Jack Buchanan offers an analysis of ecological practice and worldhood in the work of Welsh filmmaker Scott Barley, while Nikki E. Bennett and Elizabeth Johnson talk Tiger King, and the impact the series has (or hasn’t) had on public engagement with, and attitudes to, the ownership of big cats for human entertainment. Theoretical work from critical animal studies, posthumanism, the environmental humanities and media studies is brought to bear on subjects that are relevant to how we have navigated (or failed to navigate) interspecies relationships and the entanglement of humans and ecology in the past, and how the pandemic period might offer us an opportunity to reconsider and change direction.
Edited by Rebecca Jones