Speaker Profile


Verónica Policarpo
Research Fellow
Universidade de Lisboa
Media affective atmospheres and the construction of vulnerability of animals in disasters

This presentation addresses how media report and construct the situation of animals in disasters, drawing on a specific case study: wildfires in Portugal. First, it asks what kind of affects are most produced when reporting about disasters, and animals therein, around which themes and species. Second, it explores how these media discourses produce specific affective atmospheres, and how they may lead to different depictions of impacted animals, portraying some species and individuals as more charismatic, resilient and prone to recuperation than others. Third, it relates these affective building blocks of portraying animals, with the invisibility of structural conditions that construct, in the long run, the vulnerability of both human and nonhuman species to disasters. In the end, it opens the discussion around the implications of such affective atmospheres to the production of effective and long-term engagement with relevant governance stakeholders in disaster risk prevention and rescue, such as politicians, civil protection officers and veterinarians.

Veronica is a researcher at ICS-ULisboa, in the field of Human-Animal Studies (PhD in Sociology). Her current research interests are focused on human-animal relationships and the construction of daily practices and bonds between human and non-human animals. She is interested in a more-than-human approach in which all living beings are considered as active stakeholders and collaborators in the co-construction of shared worlds. At ICS-ULisboa, she coordinates, within this field of studies: the Human-Animal Studies Hub, with the support of the Animals & Society Institute and its International Development Award; project “CLAN – Children-Animal's Friendships (PTDC/SOC 28415/2017); a project about Animals in Disasters (CEECIND/02719/2017); an International Summer School in Human-Animal Studies, in collaboration with the University of Malrden (Sweden); the “Animal Wonder – Reading Group on Human-Animal Studies @ICS-ULisboa”; and the new post-graduate course “Animals and Society”.