Therapeutic landscapes and non-human animals: the roles and contested positions of animals within care farming assemblages
Social and Cultural Geography
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
The concept of therapeutic landscapes has been used as a way to critically understand how health and well-being are related to place. However, traditional discourses on therapeutic landscapes have been constructed from an anthropocentric perspective, completely ignoring and silencing the agency and experiences of non-humans. Building on the idea of therapeutic spaces as assemblages, I highlight the heterogeneity of elements that come together to produce therapeutic space. Mobilizing empirical research undertaken in spaces involved in the practice of ‘care farming’, I demonstrate how non-human presence actively creates and facilitates a therapeutic engagement with place. However, with this recognition of the non-human in therapeutic spaces, there is a need to discuss animals’ contested positions, and question the ways in which being part of these assemblages impacts animals; for whom are these landscapes therapeutic? Thus, this article advocates a critical understanding of the role of non-human animals as both co-constituents and co-participants of therapeutic spaces, moving from framing therapeutic spaces–and the animals within them–purely in relation to human needs and desires.
This research was conducted as part of a three-year PhD scholarship, jointly funded by an Economic and Social Research Council studentship (grant reference ES/J500197/1) and a Cardiff University President’s Scholarship.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 18, pp. 315 - 335