Thinking like a fish? Engaging with nonhuman difference through recreational angling

Christopher Bear, Sally Eden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Citations (SciVal)


This paper investigates how recreational anglers make sense of, and engage with, fish behaviour over space and time. Drawing on fieldwork conducted around rivers in Yorkshire, UK, it explores how anglers differently categorise and differentiate between fish through their fishing practices. Drawing on Deleuze and Guattari's notion of becoming-animal, and attentive to Haraway's concerns for 'beings-in-encounter', the paper examines angling as a transformative practice whereby anglers and fish adapt through their coconstitutive encounters. While anglers often attempt to 'think like a fish' when deciding on their tactics, we demonstrate their ambiguous classification of 'fish' on the basis of species, size, and rhythm. Their attempts to become-fish are not always, therefore, with Haraway's 'actual animals' but with complex groupings. The paper argues that studies should be more attentive to the heterogeneity of the categories of human and nonhuman. It is also critical of assumptions that certain animals, such as fish, are alien to humans and calls for greater attention to be paid to these and to the nonairy spaces in which they dwell
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-352
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironment and Planning D: Society and Space
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 07 Apr 2011


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