The actor-enacted: Cumbrian sheep in 2001

Law, John and Mol, Annemarie (2008). The actor-enacted: Cumbrian sheep in 2001. In: Knappett, Carl and Malafouris, Lambros eds. Material Agency: Towards a Non-Anthropocentric Approach. Dusseldorf: Springer, pp. 57–78.




This chapter analyses the question of agency considering the animal agency of Cumbrian sheep in the uprising of foot-and-mouth disease in the UK in 2001. The article explores the conditions required for an actor to be able to act as such. In that direction it shifts the usual meaning of the concept of actor separating it from the anthropocentric model and making it distant from the ideas of “intentionality” and “dominance” to emphasise how actors not only act, but they are habilitated and produced as such as a result of complex relations with other actors. That is, to become actors they have to be enacted. To do so, the article analyses some of the multiple forms in which Cumbrian sheep were enacted in the context of the uprising of foot-and-mouth disease in 2001. Finally the article considers what types of agency perform the Cumbrian sheep in each of them.

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