Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Multispecies entanglements in the virosphere: Rethinking the Anthropocene in light of the 2019 coronavirus outbreak


Aronsson, Anne; Holm, Fynn (2020). Multispecies entanglements in the virosphere: Rethinking the Anthropocene in light of the 2019 coronavirus outbreak. The Anthropocene Review:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

In this essay, we reevaluate the 2019 outbreak of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) from the perspective of multispecies entanglements. It is argued that anthropogenic alterations in the biosphere will most likely accelerate the rate of multispecies pandemics in the Anthropocene. Using a textual analysis approach of anthropological and historical sources on the example of coronaviruses and live animal markets in China, we trace how the virosphere of wild animals from tropical regions comes into contact with the virosphere of humans and farmed animals in highly industrialized landscapes. We suggest that adopting a multispecies perspective on viruses can allow them to be understood as living processes that interact with other species in a realm called the virosphere. The rate at which novel infectious diseases are transmitted by bacteria and viruses has increased in recent decades. We argue that this is caused by side effects of the Anthropocene, such as deforestation, the surge in population growth and density, and anthropogenic climate change, which give rise to an increased number of unusual encounters between humans, nonhuman companion species, and wild animals. In this way, the virospheres of host organisms, which were formerly partly isolated, are allowed to converge and freely exchange infectious diseases, leading to a more homogenized virosphere. As anthropogenic alterations are set to continue in the future, we suggest that multispecies pandemics will likely increase in the following decades.

Abstract

In this essay, we reevaluate the 2019 outbreak of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) from the perspective of multispecies entanglements. It is argued that anthropogenic alterations in the biosphere will most likely accelerate the rate of multispecies pandemics in the Anthropocene. Using a textual analysis approach of anthropological and historical sources on the example of coronaviruses and live animal markets in China, we trace how the virosphere of wild animals from tropical regions comes into contact with the virosphere of humans and farmed animals in highly industrialized landscapes. We suggest that adopting a multispecies perspective on viruses can allow them to be understood as living processes that interact with other species in a realm called the virosphere. The rate at which novel infectious diseases are transmitted by bacteria and viruses has increased in recent decades. We argue that this is caused by side effects of the Anthropocene, such as deforestation, the surge in population growth and density, and anthropogenic climate change, which give rise to an increased number of unusual encounters between humans, nonhuman companion species, and wild animals. In this way, the virospheres of host organisms, which were formerly partly isolated, are allowed to converge and freely exchange infectious diseases, leading to a more homogenized virosphere. As anthropogenic alterations are set to continue in the future, we suggest that multispecies pandemics will likely increase in the following decades.

Statistics

Citations

Altmetrics

Downloads

3 downloads since deposited on 04 Jan 2021
3 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Global and Planetary Change
Physical Sciences > Ecology
Physical Sciences > Geology
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ecology, Global and Planetary Change, Geology
Language:English
Date:8 December 2020
Deposited On:04 Jan 2021 14:14
Last Modified:05 Jan 2021 21:02
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:2053-020X
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/2053019620979326

Download

Hybrid Open Access

Download PDF  'Multispecies entanglements in the virosphere: Rethinking the Anthropocene in light of the 2019 coronavirus outbreak'.
Preview
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 143kB
View at publisher
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)