When different interests intersect: Animal rights as a site to criticize multiculturalism
MetadataShow full item record
My thesis aims to demonstrate how ethical imperialism takes place within Dutch multicultural society, using the recent debate on religious slaughtering as an example. Here we see how different structures of power intersect, specifically that of culture and religion, with the issue of animal rights. To achieve this I step away from the Kantian approach to ethics and argue for different approaches to ethics, to see what ethics do instead of are. Also, distinctions between race and culture and human and non-human will be taken into account within my analysis. I argue that it is impossible to understand Dutch history without mentioning its colonial, imperial, and multicultural past. The discourses around multiculturalism in the Netherlands have, however, always been changing. While cultural diversity was once seen as a positive aspect of Dutch identity, nowadays it is the problems between different cultural groups that are emphasized in politics and popular media. Looking at the recent elections of 2012, it can be noted that the topic of un-sedated religious slaughtering was one such issue in which we could see this pattern resurface. Within the debate on animal rights, different ideas of what is "right" and "wrong" or "good" and "bad" emerge. I look at how these ideas feed the notion of migrants as outsiders within the Dutch nation based on constructed hierarchies between cultural practices. To explain the intersection of the issue of animal rights with that of multiculturalism, I use the concept of biopower to explain the roots of the racist and speciesist structures, and work with the thoughts of various posthumanist scholars to rethink difference in order to change the emphasis of the debate on un-sedated religious slaughtering from choosing between either animal wellbeing or religious tolerance, to a starting point of rethinking difference in an affirmative manner.