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Animalization as the Social Phenomenon Report (Assessment)


During the centuries, people and animals co-exist following definite rules and norms in order to state and support the natural balance. The role of interconnection between the human world and the animal world is dramatic because non-human and human animals always influence each other. This feature explains the development of the notion of ‘animalization’ as the attempt to define people’s behaviors when they are closer to animals’ reactions than to humans’ activities. However, the problem is in the fact that today animalization is not only the act that is characteristic of one man, but it is also the behavioral pattern that is typical for societies.

That is why the word ‘animalization’ is used now to depict the people’s inhumane behaviors more often than decades ago. Although many people still discuss humans’ animalization as the concrete course of action dependent on acquiring the animals’ characteristics, the concept should be defined more broadly. Thus, animalization is the social phenomenon which can characterize the tendencies of the society’s development in relation to the social focus on rejecting the idea of humanity and following the instincts because animalization is the result of the civilization process, animalization affects the nature of people’s interactions within the society, and animalization is characteristic for all the social categories, including men, women, and children.

The concept of animalization is frequently discussed in the scholarly literature and in the media as the negative consequence of the civilization process because the extreme focus on the human’s superiority broke the natural balance in the relations between the human and animal worlds; that is why, animalization became the phenomenon which can be observed during different historical periods and in many societies, but today, it acquires the specific meaning of degradation. Although human and non-human animals can be discussed as equal in their rights to use the natural resources as the sources for their living, civilization put a clear distinction line between the world of humans and animals (Gabriel and Ilcan 102-103). According to Levinas, the human’s superiority is the result of having a ‘face,’ but animals also have certain rights because people and animals live in the same environments (Levinas 47-48). Civilization made the worlds of humans and animals more distinct from each other, and as a result, the concentration on the opposition between them was intensified (Gabriel and Ilcan 100). The accentuation of this gap between the worlds of animals and humans provided more opportunities for philosophers and sociologists to speak about animalization as a social phenomenon, which is not only the result of the civilization process but also the way to explain the changing nature of people’s interactions within the society.

The changes in the character of the people’s behaviors and actions directed toward each other are based on the references to the cruel behaviors typical for animals, and these obvious changes support the idea that animalization is the phenomenon which should be discussed within the large social context. During the centuries, people are inclined to treat animals as the sources for their existence and to pay more attention to the expected benefits of using animals according to the people’s needs (Cavalieri 56). However, the humans’ cruelty in relation to animals acquired another meaning during the recent decades because today, people are crueler while interacting with each other, and these persons often demonstrate the qualities which made them tremble while being observed in animals’ actions.

These people’s behaviors are explained with the help of the word ‘animalization,’ but it is important to note that animals are often more humane than people (Gabriel and Ilcan 98-99). Thus, the idea of humanity can be discussed as rejected while discussing the problem of animalization. Today, people choose to demonstrate the animals’ qualities while attempting to succeed, to gain more benefits, to protect their properties and lives. Animalization at the social level means that more and more people today choose to act according to their natural or biological instincts, hidden desires, aggressive and cruel intentions because these behaviors tend to be acknowledged in modern society as the way to succeed (Gabriel and Ilcan 98; Levinas 49). Representatives of modern society often ignore their logos to control the mechanism of demonstrating instincts, and as a result, they ignore the idea of humanity. The problem is in the fact that animalization in this context becomes typical for men, women, and even children.

It is possible to speak about the social phenomenon if this phenomenon affects one or several social groups at a constant base, and animalization affects all the social groups, and there is the tendency of the process’ intensification. Traditionally, men are discussed as more brutal in their nature than women because of their usual roles of protectors, hunters, and breadwinners (Cavalieri 60; Gabriel and Ilcan 100). That is why animalization first influenced the male population, whose main characteristic features are decisiveness and readiness to risk. Men are warriors in their nature, and the necessity to protect families and societies makes them act brutally and without paying much attention to the idea of humanity. Nevertheless, men are often inclined to demonstrate their animals’ qualities in situations where brutality and cruelty are unnecessary or can be avoided. For instance, today, this tendency is observed in the business world and in relation to the constantly increasing crime rates. In spite of the fact that animalization often refers to the men’s behaviors, this notion is actively used to discuss different types of people’s cruel actions, and women can also be described as animalized because of the people’s orientation to humanity as well as the rejection of humanity cannot depend on the notion of gender (Gabriel and Ilcan 101). In this case, animalization is important to be discussed with references to children because of their close ties with the natural world.

Children often demonstrate the inability to control their instincts and desires because the mechanism of control is not developed enough, but the other side of this process is the active animalization typical for many contemporary children. Since early childhood, children are inclined to receive knowledge about the world from fairy-tales, where many characters are presented as humanized animals (Melson 23-26). As a result, the distinction between the worlds of humans and animals seem to be subtle for children. The animals’ risky behaviors are not discussed as bad or forbidden, and it is possible to speak about imitating different behavioral patterns (Melson 24). The problem is in the fact that limits and boundaries in the children’s minds also become subtle, and animalization appears in the form of children’s cruelty, which is often uncontrolled by parents, and this problem becomes to be a social one when some scholars tend to discuss animalization as only the human act.

Different philosophers, scholars, and sociologists are still inclined to discuss animalization as specific activities related to humans’ behaviors, which are similar to animals’ ones. Thus, behaving like an animal, a person can be discussed as animalized (Cavalieri 55). In this case, animalization is analyzed as the notion which is opposite to the process of humanization. However, today the range of the concept of animalization can be described as expanded significantly because more and more people’s actions are defined as brutal and non-human, and more and more people choose to be animalized instead of focusing on humanity (Gabriel and Ilcan 102-103). That is why the definition of animalization based on discussing it as a social phenomenon is more relevant with references to the current situation in society.

Animalization should be defined as a social phenomenon that can be observed in many societies in the form of multiple negative tendencies and as the reverse result of civilization. Animalization is not only the act and behavior but also the phenomenon because its role for social progress is extremely important. Thus, there are many social and moral consequences of animalization as the spread social phenomenon because it determines the behaviors of not only men and women but also children. The expected moral implication of animalization is the extreme degradation of society in relation to people’s rejection of following ethical rules and norms. The other significant implications are also mostly negative in their nature because ‘animalized’ people who do not accept humane norms are inclined to build a society full of inequality and brutality.

Works Cited

Cavalieri, Paola. “The Animal Debate: A Reexamination”. In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave. Ed. Peter Singer. London: Blackwell Publishers, 2006. 54-68. Print.

Gabriel, Barbara, and Suzan Ilcan. Postmodernism and the Ethical Subject. USA: McGill-Queen’s Press, 2004. Print.

Levinas, Emmanuel. “The Name of a Dog, or Natural Rights”. Animal Philosophy: Ethics and Identity. Ed. Peter Atterton and Matthew Calarco. London: Continuum, 2004. 47-50. Print.

Melson, Gail. Why the Wild Things Are: Animals in the Lives of Children. Cambridge: Harvard Uni Press, 2001. Print.

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1. IvyPanda. "Animalization as the Social Phenomenon." March 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/animalization-as-the-social-phenomenon/.


IvyPanda. "Animalization as the Social Phenomenon." March 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/animalization-as-the-social-phenomenon/.


IvyPanda. 2021. "Animalization as the Social Phenomenon." March 20, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/animalization-as-the-social-phenomenon/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Animalization as the Social Phenomenon'. 20 March.

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