Animals Erased

discourse, ecology and reconnection with the natural world




Animals are disappearing, vanishing, dying out, not just in the physical sense of becoming extinct, but in the sense of being erased from our consciousness. Increasingly, interactions with animals happen at a remove: mediated by nature programmes, books, magazines, the internet or cartoons, or framed by the enclosures of zoos and aquariums. In this thought-provoking book, Arran Stibbe takes us on a journey of discovery, revealing the many ways in which language constructs our relationships with animals and the natural world.


Both academically rigorous and deeply insightful, Animals Erased analyses the use of language across a variety of discourses and shows the reader how language forms patterns of thought that distance us from nature. The book examines the language used by animal product industries, animal rights movements, ecological reports, newspapers, and textbooks. The analyses reveal how hidden ideologies embedded in these discourses construct animals as objects, machines, resources for human exploitation, or passive victims. In his search for an alternative to discourses which erase animals, the author turns to the traditional culture of Japan. Within Zen philosophy, haiku poetry, and even contemporary children's animated films, animals appear as active agents, leading their own lives for their own purposes, and of value in themselves. The book concludes by considering the ecological implications of the erasure of animals, arguing that it is necessary to reconnect with the reality of animals if we are to build human systems that work with, rather than against, nature.


Arran Stibbe currently resides in Cheltenham, UK, where he is a Reader in Ecological Linguistics at the University of Gloucestershire. His academic background is in both linguistics and human ecology, and he combines the two in his teaching and research in the area of ecolinguistics. He is founder of the Language and Ecology Research Forum ( and editor of The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy (

Published by Wesleyan University Press


For revew copies contact

Stephanie Elliott (860) 685-7723 or [email protected]


224 pp. 12 illus. 6 tables 6 x 8-1/4”

£61.95 cloth, 978-0-8195-7231-8

£22.50 paperback, 978-0-8195-7232-5

$19.99, eBook, 978-0-8195-7233-2

Publication Date: April 6, 2012