Posthuman affirmative business ethics: Reimagining human-animal relations through speculative fiction

Sayers, Janet; Martin, Lydia and Bell, Emma (2021). Posthuman affirmative business ethics: Reimagining human-animal relations through speculative fiction. Journal of Business Ethics (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-021-04801-8

Abstract

Posthuman affirmative ethics relies upon a fluid, nomadic conception of the ethical subject who develops affective, material and immaterial connections to multiple others. Our purpose in this paper is to consider what posthuman affirmative business ethics would look like, and to reflect on the shift in thinking and practice this would involve. The need for a revised understanding of human-animal relations in business ethics is amplified by crises such as climate change and pandemics that are related to ecologically destructive business practices like factory farming. In this analysis we use feminist speculative fiction as a resource for reimagination and posthuman ethical thinking. By focusing on three ethical movements experienced by a central character named Toby in Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, we show how she is continually becoming through affective, embodied encounters with human and nonhuman others. In the discussion, we consider the vulnerability that arises from openness to affect which engenders heightened response-ability to and with, rather than for, multiple others. This expanded concept of subjectivity enables a more relational understanding of equality that is urgently needed in order to respond affirmatively to posthuman futures.

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