Mapping Emotions: Exploring the Impact of the Aussie Farms Map

Published date01 August 2020
Date01 August 2020
Subject MatterArticles
/tmp/tmp-17mMcsBDcObz56/input 910306CCJXXX10.1177/1043986220910306Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeBarnes and White
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2020, Vol. 36(3) 303 –326
Mapping Emotions:
© The Author(s) 2020
Article reuse guidelines:
Exploring the Impact of the
DOI: 10.1177/1043986220910306
Aussie Farms Map
Ash Barnes1 and Rob White1
Counter-mapping refers to the public dissemination by activist groups of maps
that visually document particular harms and offenders or sites of justice and prior
ownership. Drawing upon green criminology, this article analyses the consequences
of using counter-mapping as an activist tool. It examines how media framing of the
Aussie Farms map is constructed around particularly polarizing narratives. This
interactive map demonstrates the location and proliferation of animal agriculture and
animal exploitation industries within Australia. Media framing has generated heated
debate among Australian farmers and activists alike by inciting deeply emotional
responses to the issues. We explore these common media narratives and their
consequences for activists and tools such as counter-maps.
animal activism, counter-mapping, green criminology, eco-terrorism, satellite imagery
One of the most significant contributions to the field of criminology is the way in
which green criminologists approach the study of environmental issues. As Natali
(2016) emphasizes, green criminology allows wide scope for connecting serious
issues, which are at the forefront of worldly concern including environmental crimes
and harms affecting humans and nonhuman entities. This intellectual space allows
researchers to rethink and reexamine how the biophysical and the socioeconomic com-
ponents interact to impact the environment. Considerations include the pollution and
deterioration of natural resources and the reframing of these as theft against nature
1University of Tasmania, Hobart, Australia
Corresponding Author:
Ash Barnes, School of Social Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7005, Australia.

Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 36(3)
(Brisman et al., 2017), through to elaborating the relationships between organized
crime networks, toxic pollution, corporate crime, and the injuries caused to land-based
and aquatic wildlife (South, 2014).
For this article, our focus is on activism and how visual tools—in this case that
take the form of interactive maps—are used to disrupt existing systems of animal
use and exploitation. Although our concerns touch upon themes relevant to a green
nonspeciesist criminology (see Sollund, 2015; White, 2013), the focus is less on this
than on the dynamics of public presentations of issues pertaining to animals and
activists. For present purposes, this includes an analysis of how media outlets frame
responses to the “Aussie Farms map” through the lens of public emotions in ways
that stoke particular affective responses while simultaneously distracting attention
to other equally important issues.
Academics and Activists
Green criminology examines issues such as the nature and dynamics of environmental
crimes and harms
(that may incorporate wider definitions of crime than that provided
in strictly legal definitions); environmental laws (including enforcement, prosecution
and sentencing practices); environmental regulation (systems of administrative, civil
and criminal law that are designed to manage, protect and preserve specified environ-
ments and species, and to manage the negative consequences of particular industrial
processes); and eco-justice (the valuing of and respect for humans, ecosystems and
nonhuman animals and plants) (White, 2013; White & Heckenberg, 2014). As part of
their endeavors, green criminologists may use mapping as a research method for insti-
gating greater public and academic attention on harms that are at present largely
ignored—such as environmental damage stemming from deforestation, pollution
events, and the killing and suffering of nonhuman animals (Donovan, 2006; Donovan
& Adams, 1996). Academics use maps as part of scientific endeavor. That is, their use
is informed by values (such as ecocentrism and nonspeciesism) but is not intrinsically
about activism as such. The objective in using maps is to contribute to knowledge
production and exchange.
Activists likewise use mapping as a form of highlighting cases of injustice and
spreading public awareness. Here the main objective is social change, where maps are
used as tools to change the world and not solely for scientific purposes. Many academ-
ics are also activists, but many are not. Activists may draw upon the work of academ-
ics such as green criminologists, but many do not undertake grounded research and
scholarship themselves. The “organic intellectual” in the Gramscian sense is one who
ties their intellectual labor directly into grassroots activism and social movements;
again, not all green criminologists do this, although many are influenced by the poli-
tics of animal rights and environmental activist movements (see, for example, Beirne,
2009). For activists, their primary site for activity is the public domains of the street
and social media.
The generic title “green criminology” refers to a variety of approaches, theories,
and perspectives (see; Beirne & South, 2007; Ruggiero & South, 2010; South &

Barnes and White
Brisman, 2013; White, 2011; White & Heckenberg, 2014). Green criminologists vary
in ideological orientation and activist participation. In addition to theoretical differ-
ences within the field (as indicated in titles such as “conservation criminology,” “eco-
global criminology,” and “green cultural criminology”), there are political differences
between mainstream and critical variations. For example, a distinguishing character-
istic of critical criminology is that it is generally associated with an oppositional
position in relation to much of the work of conventional criminology, and also to
many contemporary policy developments in the field of criminal justice. It also has a
strong tendency toward transformational politics—to not only provide understanding
of the wider world but to engage in actions that will substantially change it (White,
Not all green criminology can be characterized as “critical criminology” from the
point of view of engagement in transformative politics and/or radical critique of exist-
ing political economic systems. Indeed, some variants largely mirror conventional
criminology in regard to techniques (use of situation crime prevention in combating
illegal wildlife trafficking) and adherence to mainstream definitions of crime (such as
natural resource and conservation criminology). Here the main emphasis is on crime
control and better systems of regulation and law enforcement, rather than radical shifts
in eco-justice perspective or practice (Gibbs et al., 2009; Lemieux, 2014). While also
directed at better protection of environments and species, critical green criminology
nonetheless challenges the baseline definitions of “environmental harm” (White,
2013) and is critical of the dominant institutions of contemporary capitalism that prop
up the environmental status quo (Stretesky et al., 2013).
Nonspeciesist criminology, as a particular subfield, is similarly connected to the more
radical wings of green criminology. It aims to extend the moral and legal scope to include
consideration of nonhuman animals (Benton, 1998) and is frequently associated with
“activist scholarship,” a form of intellectual labor that challenges systems designed pri-
marily for humans and that lead to nonhuman species injustice (Drew & Taylor, 2014;
Sollund, 2008; Taylor & Fitzgerald, 2018; Taylor & Twine, 2014). Committed activists
of ecology and animal rights organizations likewise both express a moral concern that
consideration should be extended beyond the boundaries of our own species, and that
nonhuman beings should be recognized as having value in their own right.
The methods of activists mirror recent innovations in green cultural criminology.
For example, the use of photography (and photo-elicitation) as a methodological tool
for criminological research assists in documenting environmental harm and also pro-
vides evidence of its impact on vulnerable people. Natali (2016) observes that narra-
tives of personal experiences of environmental injustices can be reimagined and
recontextualized by using photography. Images elevate consciousness of environmen-
tal harm and the processes of denial and habituation that exists structurally, often pro-
viding opportunity for the most deeply affected people to accept their fate or oppose it.
They promote new “ways of looking” at the relationships between human interaction,
wildlife, and environment. In doing so, images have the capacity to evoke deeper ele-
ments of human consciousness (more so than just words alone), bringing a different
kind of information to stimulate emotion (Harper, 2002).

Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 36(3)
In this article, we explore the ways in which visual representations of animal use
and environmental harm are presented through maps and satellite imagery, and the
emotions that arise from this. We also consider how the ability to visualize linkages
between various social...

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