Picturing the Beast: Animals, Identity, and Representation / Edition 1

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Overview

From Mickey Mouse to the use of "jackass" as an all-purpose insult, images of animals play a central role in politics, entertainment, and social interactions. In this penetrating look at how Western culture pictures the beast, Steve Baker examines how such images--sometimes affectionate, sometimes derogatory, always distorting--affect how real animals are perceived and treated.

Baker provides an animated discussion of how animals enter into the iconography of power through wartime depictions of the enemy, political cartoons, and sports symbolism. He examines a phenomenon he calls the "disnification" of animals, meaning a reduction of the animal to the trivial and stupid, and shows how books featuring talking animals underscore human superiority. He also discusses how his findings might inform the strategies of animal rights advocates seeking to call public attention to animal suffering and abuse. Until animals are extricated from the baggage of imposed images, Baker maintains, neither they nor their predicaments can be clearly seen.

For this edition, Baker provides a new introduction, specifically addressing an American audience, that touches on such topics as the Cow Parade and animatronic animals in recent films.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252070303
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Foreword to the Illinois paperback
Introduction to the Illinois paperback
Preface to the first edition: The signifying animal
Pt. I History and power
1 From massacred cats and lucky cows: history and mentalites 3
2 Eagles, lions and bulldogs: an iconography of power 33
Pt. II Hatred and pleasure
3 Mad dogs and half-human beasts: the rhetoric of animality 77
4 Of Maus and more: narrative, pleasure and talking animals 120
Pt. III Contradiction and change
5 Is it real or is it Disney?: unravelling the animal system 165
6 Escaping the ratking: strategic images for animal rights 187
Index 237
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