quarta-feira, 29 de julho de 2015

The genderisation of animal cruelty in bullfights in Portugal

 by Luís Cordeiro-Rodrigues & Emanuele Achino

Bullfighting is a practice that has been increasingly contested worldwide. In Portugal, where the practice remains legal, this contestation has also been significantly present. Hence, despite being a legal practice, engaging in bullfighting is a behaviour that is, in Portugal, generally socially stigmatised and seen as something not socially acceptable. This contestation has provoked a response from those who defend bullfighting. Protóiro, the Portuguese Federation for bull-related events, has put significant effort into rationalising the practice, trying to demonstrate that it is a practice that Portuguese should cherish and maintain. In this article, we will contend that this rationalisation can be conceptualised as comprising deviant techniques of neutralisation.
The techniques of neutralisation are used by neutralisation theorists as a concept that refers to the psychological mechanisms used by offenders who commit illegitimate acts to self-justify and justify their actions to others. Put differently, supporters of bullfights, analogous to the case of offenders, may feel guilty and ashamed of violating the basic norms of society (in this case, violation of animal cruelty beliefs) and, therefore, develop rationalisations that neutralise their potential guilt and shame.
In doing so, we have also underlined that the bullfight is mainly a male thing, even though there are females. Male bullfighters are described, in fact, with adjectives such as 'courageous', 'real man', 'brave', whereas female bullfighters are described as 'beautiful', 'sexy', 'elegant'. And yet, visual images provided from the fieldwork suggest that male bullfighters are portrayed as strong, the bulls as strong, and female images emphasis their elegance and beauty, although furhter research still remain to be provided on the matter for the time to come.

Dr Luís Cordeiro-Rodrigues holds a PhD from the University of York. He has published on animal rights, multiculturalism and sexual orientation on the Journal for Critical Animal Studies, Green Theory and Praxis Journal, Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Marx & Philosophy Review of Books and Political Studies Review. He also has a forthcoming book on multiculturalism with Pickering & Chatto.

Dr Emanuele Achino holds a PhD in Social Sciences with a focus on social movements and gender studies. He works with a cultural theoretical background, and with a qualitative and quantitative research framework. At the moment, he works as a research associate at the Experientia group in Turin, Italy. However, he got research in the field of social sciences with a cross cutting background, by moving from cultural research to structural research. Yet, he has recently moved attention to those connection between gender and non-human beings by developing ideas and research suggestions on the matter. He has recently published on the Journal of Gender Studies and on the International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies.

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