chapter  2
16 Pages

More-than-Human Sociality: A Call for Critical Description


How could it have ever occurred to anyone that living things other than humans are not social? The more one thinks about it, the more ridiculous an opposition between human sociality and non-human-what? ‘non-sociality’?—becomes. If social means ‘made in entangling relations with signifi cant others,’ clearly living beings other than humans are fully social-with or without humans. Yet, as this volume discusses, an opposition between nature and society has been quite conventional in the modern humanities and sciences. The opposition defines what we call the social sciences, which almost never deal with the intrinsic sociality of nonhumans, that is, those social relations that do not come into being because of humans. I was trained in this tradition too. I am embarrassed to see that, in my earlier work, I sometimes defi ned social as ‘having to do with human histories.’ Now this seems quite strange. The concept of sociality does not distinguish between human and not human. ‘More-than-human sociality’ includes both.1