Barbed Wire: An Ecology of Modernity by Reviel Netz

By Reviel Netz

In this unique and debatable booklet, historian and thinker Reviel Netz explores the advance of a controlling and pain-inducing technology—barbed cord. Surveying its improvement from 1874 to 1954, Netz describes its use to regulate farm animals throughout the colonization of the yank West and to regulate humans in Nazi focus camps and the Russian Gulag. actual regulate over house was once not symbolic after 1874.

This is a heritage informed from the viewpoint of its sufferers. With brilliant examples of the interconnectedness of people, animals, and the surroundings, this dramatic account of barbed twine offers glossy background in the course of the lens of movement being avoided. Drawing jointly the heritage of people and animals, Netz offers a compelling new point of view at the problems with colonialism, capitalism, war, globalization, violence, and agony. Theoretically subtle yet written with a wide readership in brain, Barbed Wire demands not anything below a reconsideration of modernity.

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Additional resources for Barbed Wire: An Ecology of Modernity

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Do not be confused. In contemporary agriculture—which tends to be, strictly speaking, a ranch business—the terms “range” or “open range” came to have the more narrow meaning of any animal raising that does not involve strict imprisonment inside a building. In the original sense, the distinction between “range” and “ranch” was different. A ranch is an enclosed piece of land; the range is space, unlimited. Originally, Texas cows were fed off the land and moved through it, all throughout the plains—just as the bison did.

45 Larger herds require larger space, and the larger a space is, the smaller the ratio of unit of perimeter to unit of area. This, then, was a further crucial element of economy: fencing became cheaper, paradoxically, on the immense units of space used by large herds. It also became more necessary as the same spiral of overuse continued to force fiercer competition for resources. The result was that lines of fences were set to define territories on which companies grazed their cows—whether those companies had legal title to that land or not.

56 As humans learned more about animal pain, animals learned more about human violence. Animals learned to avoid barbed wire, and sometimes they were deliberately taught. A commercial leaflet encouraging the use of barbed wire advises the farmer “to lead [young horses] to the fence and let them prick their noses by contact with it . . ” 57 This expresses the special interest humans always had in the physical fitness of horse, whereas cows were generally expected to pick up such knowledge through sheer experience.

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