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The Ethics of Captivity$
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Lori Gruen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199977994

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977994.001.0001

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Dignity, Captivity, and an Ethics of Sight

Dignity, Captivity, and an Ethics of Sight

(p.231) 14 Dignity, Captivity, and an Ethics of Sight
The Ethics of Captivity

Lori Gruen

Oxford University Press

“Dignity” is notoriously hard to get a grasp on. Despite the ambiguities that attend to the concept of dignity, this chapter argues that dignity, understood as a relational concept requiring apt moral perception, can be applied to humans and other animals. After laying out what dignity is and what it means to respect dignity, this chapter explores the ways that constantly being subject to surveillance and control threatens dignity. Through an examination of conditions in two captive contexts, zoos and prisons, it is argued that dignity can only be promoted if in addition to being treated with respect, captives are able to escape and/or return the gaze of their captors.

Keywords:   animal dignity, mass incarceration, respect, prisons, zoos, moral perception, surveillance

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