Inter-Research > ESEP > Prepress Abstract
Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

    ESEP prepress abstract   -  DOI:

    Why we should keep quiet at the zoo

    Alexander Badman-King*, Tom Rice, Samantha Hurn, Paul Rose, Adam Reed

    *Corresponding author:

    ABSTRACT: Zoos are typically public attractions which do not either explicitly, or through a more implicit culture, expect quietness from their guests. This paper will explore whether quietness is something we should aim for when we are visiting zoos. Primarily through analogy with other public spaces which share some of the key characteristics of zoos (libraries and schools, cinemas, theatres and galleries, war memorials, and hospitals and gardens) this paper will suggest that quiet is indeed appropriate in zoos (more appropriate than being noisy). A major component of this argument will be the exploration of what is meant by quiet (and noise), and in outlining a concept of quietness based on an idea of attention. The central premise here, drawing upon theories of attention and love from Iris Murdoch and Simone Weil (Murdoch I. 1970. The Sovereignty of Good. Routledge and Keegan Paul, London ; Weil, S. 2002 (1952). Gravity and Grace, London: Routledge.), is that noise involves a certain kind of outward expression which leaves less room for the appreciation of and attention to the animals and information which the zoo provides. The article will reflect on how a call for quiet may create scope for enhancing the educational possibilities of zoos, and how zoos might profit by taking the sonic dimension of visitor behaviour into account when considering their values.