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Beyond Human-Wildlife Conflicts. Ameliorating Human/Nonhuman Animal Relationships through Workshops on Terminology

Gabriel Yahya Haage


Human-Wildlife Conflicts (HWCs) occur when nonhuman animals’ needs clash with those of humans. One recent effort regards shifting HWCs into Human-Human Social Conflicts, where conflicts are about humans disagreeing on how to deal with nonhuman animals. This method can help reduce guilt placed on nonhuman animals, but also robs them of their agency. Conversely, some in the field of biology seek to increase animal agency and their moral status, even making them key stakeholders. A helpful relationship may seek both aspects. Fourteen workshops (147 participants, 40 subgroups), with relevant stakeholders, were run on this topic. Participants were involved in biology and/or environmentalism and/or sustainability. They sought to develop terminology diminishing guilt in HWCs, while maintaining agency. Common themes were then brought out. Eight subgroups argued for more inclusive terms, like “sentient beings” and 21 argued for diminishing human/nature dichotomies. Both fit well with increasing agency, and giving nonhumans greater moral status, by narrowing human/nonhuman animal gaps. Participants also discussed nonhuman animals as “icons”, which 26/30 subgroups saw as, at least potentially, problematic, arguing it conceptually “freezes” species, ignoring their dynamism. In sum, the workshops aid in framing healthier relationships with the natural world.


human-human social conflicts; human-wildlife conflicts; nonhuman agency; nonhuman animals as stakeholders; nonhumans as icons; nonhuman moral status; relational values; sentient beings; terminology; workshops.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/rela-2023-01-yahg

Copyright (©) 2023 Gabriel Yahya Haage – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie

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Relations. Beyond Anthropocentrism
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (04/05/2012 n. 211)
Online ISSN 2280-9643 - Print ISSN 2283-3196

Executive Editor: Francesco Allegri
Associate Editor: Matteo Andreozzi 
Review Editors: Sofia Bonicalzi - Eleonora Adorni
Editorial Board:
Ralph R. Acampora - Carol J. Adams - Vilma Baricalla - Luisella Battaglia - Rod Bennison - Matthew R. Calarco - Piergiorgio Donatelli - William Grove-Fanning - Serenella Iovino - Luigi Lombardi Vallauri - Christoph Lumer - Joel MacClellan - Dario Martinelli - Roberto Marchesini - Alma Massaro - Serpil Oppermann - Simone Pollo - Paola Sobbrio - Kim Stallwood - Sabrina Tonutti - Jessica Ullrich - Federico Zuolo

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