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April 7, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


In this course, Why are nonhuman animals victims of harm? you will investigate why nonhuman animals tend to be overlooked as victims of violence.

The course explores some of the social processes and structures that victimise other animals, such as ‘livestock’ farming. The course also highlights some of the environmental harms related to ‘livestock’ farming. You will learn about how harms are perpetuated by language and imagery, as well as how language and imagery can be used to oppose and resist harms against nonhuman animals.

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course DD311 Crime, harm and the state

Content warning

Study in the social sciences – and criminology in particular – inevitably touches on sensitive and emotive topics that may be difficult and upsetting. This course explores harms against nonhuman animals that you may find difficult to work with, including images of nonhuman animals in confinement.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Understand the role of language and imagery in shaping recognition of other animals as victims of harm
  • Understand a range of direct and indirect harms that are inflicted on nonhuman animals, especially through ‘livestock’ farming
  • Understand how harms against other animals are both legitimised and contested through language and imagery
  • Understand the concept of the Animal-Industrial Complex.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction 00:15:00
  • Learning outcomes 00:07:00
  • Language, imagery and the animal turn 00:15:00
    • Nonhuman victims of harm 00:10:00
    • ‘Livestock’ farming, fishing and social harm 00:15:00
    • Collateral social harm 00:10:00
    • ‘Livestock’ farming and environmental harm 00:20:00
    • The animal–industrial complex 00:25:00
    • Sticks and stones? Power-knowledge, discourse and harm 00:10:00
    • Power-knowledge and the ‘disciplining’ of other animals 00:15:00
    • Discourse and resistance 00:20:00
    • Conclusion 00:10:00

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Open University UK