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The horse, in his present condition of slavery: Alienation and Self-Realization in the Riding School
Mälardalens högskola, Akademin för hälsa, vård och välfärd, Hälsa och välfärd. (HAL)ORCID-id: 0000-0001-9902-1191
2018 (engelsk)Konferansepaper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Fagfellevurdert)
Abstract [en]

What do riding school pupils talk about? Like most of us, they complain about their jobs. This Swedish riding school ethnography shows how pupils turn the riding school into a sphere of intimacy separated from everyday life. The riding lessons can serve as a break from a stressful job, a demanding family situation, or a personal crisis. And although teachers continuously judge the pupils’ performance, riders say that they gladly subject themselves to critique. Everything is focused on reaching the few, fleeting and euphoric moments when riders feel that they are one with the horse. Because of these moments, some even talk about riding as a path to self-realization.

 

The discussion of the ethnographic material is guided by the comparison between the situation of women and horses Charlotte Perkins Gilman makes in her classic Women and Economics from 1898: horses and women are in the same “condition of slavery” as they are economically dependent on men. Transposed to the present empirical setting—my informants are either woman or horse—the analogy sheds light on the inequality between humans and horses. The riding school can help humans transcend the capitalist condition of “slavery” for a moment, but many informants realize that to do so, they contribute to subjugating the horses to the elaborate disciplinary and administrative apparatus. The paper thus argues that the riding school can only provide riders with a sort of melancholic escapism that can never fundamentally challenge the present condition of slavery.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Turku, 2018.
Emneord [en]
Animal studies, centaurs, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Horses, human-animal studies, Karl Marx, riding schools
HSV kategori
Forskningsprogram
Sociologi
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-45404OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-45404DiVA, id: diva2:1357668
Konferanse
Un(Common) Worlds: Human-Animal Studies Conference, August 7–9, 2018
Prosjekter
Intimitetens sociala former
Forskningsfinansiär
Swedish Research Council, 421-2014-1465Tilgjengelig fra: 2019-10-04 Laget: 2019-10-04 Sist oppdatert: 2019-11-19

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