Reindeer Labour, Ethics and Critical Theory

Tutkimustuotokset: KonferenssiesitysAbstraktiTieteellinen


In this paper, we aim to contribute to the development of the ‘diverse and morally challenging issues’ associated not only with the question of animal rights and ethics per se., but also with the interrelationship between non-human and human animals as objects of workplace management and exploitation. In doing so, we argue that the critical evaluation of our relationships with non-human animals in the workplace is necessary for questioning both our ethical responsibilities to those non-human creatures we work with and our commonsensical understanding of our ethical accountability for each other. In order to achieve this, we consider the relationship between animals and business ethics through the work of the German philosopher and social critic Theodor Adorno, along with others associated with the first generation of thinkers attached to what is commonly known as the Frankfurt School of Critical Theory. To illustrate the dialectical interface between the exploitation and domination of both non-human and human animals, we draw on research into what is a somewhat novel, yet instructive working environment; namely Christmas tourism in Finnish Lapland, and the labour of those reindeer, and associated human workers who help create memorable experiences for visiting tourists. In particular, this research sheds light upon tourism as a global industry based on the work of low-paid, young female workers, and a wide variety of animal species. Through this paper, we want to show that the ethical treatment of animals at work requires us to question the structures of economic activity including its implication for both human and non-human workers. Our treatment of animals as organizational and workplace resources can indeed become the yardstick by which we also adjudged the treatment of human working animals. It is only by embracing our commonalties within the natural world that the ethical treatment of animals at work might truly be achievable.
TilaJulkaistu - huhtik. 2019
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