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Title: Contesting captive cetaceans: (il)legal spaces and the nature of dolphins in urban Singapore
Authors: Neo, Choon Tiong Harvey 
Ngiam, J.Z.
Issue Date: Apr-2014
Publisher: Routledge
Citation: Neo, Choon Tiong Harvey, Ngiam, J.Z. (2014-04). Contesting captive cetaceans: (il)legal spaces and the nature of dolphins in urban Singapore. Social & Cultural Geography 15 (3) : 235-254. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Drawing on the debate over dolphin captivity in Singapore, we examine the ways in which human–animal relationships are contested. Departing from most animal geography studies which often focused on the conflictual spatial transgressions of animals into human spaces, we use the idea of ‘captivity’ as a heuristic to posit that human–animal relationships are necessarily moral, spatially enmeshed in contestations over what is (un)natural and increasingly entwined in legal geographies. While such an argument mirrors other sites of animal captivity (for example, zoos), dolphin captivity sits in a more ambiguous legal terrain than most other captive animals in zoos. Moreover, the very ‘nature’ of dolphins makes debates over their ‘authenticity’ ever more complex. The moralities of cetaceans are simultaneously underpinned by questions of the spatial (‘captive sites’ and ‘open seas’), the socio-cultural (‘charismatic animals’) and the legal (‘regulatory frameworks governing their welfare and whether they are endangered or not’). Hitherto, cetaceans are less researched (compared to terrestrial creatures) in animal geographies with even fewer studies focusing on cetacean captivity. We call for an expanded notion of ‘captivity’ that is relative, relational and non-absolute and underpinned by the notions of ‘nature’. In so doing, we align ourselves more with the anti-captivity camp.
Source Title: Social & Cultural Geography
ISSN: 14649365
DOI: 10.1080/14649365.2014.882974
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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