Of men and beasts: an anthropological analysis of the movie Men and Chicken

  • Nina Kulenović Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
popular culture, anthropology of film, science fiction, science, biotechnology, humanity, Us and Others


Following the path established in Serbian anthropology by the subdiscipline of the anthropology of film, as well as the anthropological "section" for the study of science fiction, the analytical focus of this paper is the film Men and Chicken. Contrary to critics who saw in this film "an unreadable, morbid and cynical postmodern horror", the basic thesis of this paper is that the film helps us not only to question public ideas about science, but also to shed light on the hopes, fears and conceptual dilemmas caused by the advance of biotechnologies. It helps us to, using a product of popular culture close to the experience of the general public, analyze the way in which the imaginarium of the film deals with the "paradox at the heart" of western thought - the simultaneous claim that humans are animals and that animality is the polar opposite of what we hold to be human. The paradox in question need not be an intellectual chew toy for a bored mind, nor an opportunity for demonstrating the wondrous power of an analytical process of Levi-Straussian calibre, rather a very relevant question in current institutional and public discussions on creating hybrid embryos/species at the heart of which are attempts to establish the biological, moral and cultural status of humans, non-humans and hybrids.


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How to Cite
Kulenović, Nina. 2017. “Of Men and Beasts: An Anthropological Analysis of the Movie Men and Chicken”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 12 (2), 437–465. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v12i2.5.