Thinking critically about health and human-animal relations: Therapeutic affect within spaces of care farming.

Affiliation

Department of Geography, University of Exeter, Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ, United Kingdom. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

This article draws on a more-than-representational approach to reconsider how geographers engage with ideas of 'health'. Health can be understood as the constant reshaping of an individual's capacity to affect and be affected, the way in which a body's powers to act are dynamically augmented or diminished by different affective relations. The article also addresses calls for health geography to engage with the more-than-human. The article mobilises a qualitative study of 'care farming' within England and Wales to highlight the generative potential of human-animal relations in (re)shaping the diverse affective relations gathered together to produce new bodily capacities. The article demonstrates how animal presence and agency can break down barriers, allowing people to navigate and negotiate adverse contexts and access support in a manner and space in which they feel comfortable. Additionally, human-animal relations are shown to produce affective experiences that act to re-place identities, understandings, and ways of 'being-with' the world that can enact what different actants may become. Human-animal relations matter for health.

Keywords

Care farming,Health,Health and place,Health geography,Human-animal relations,UK,

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