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An ecological whodunit: The story of colony collapse disorder

Portus, Rosamund

An ecological whodunit: The story of colony collapse disorder Thumbnail


Rosamund Portus


© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2020. As life on Earth becomes increasingly precarious, it becomes ever clearer that, while some nonhuman losses are perceived as tragic and controversial, many more are left to slip away, unnoticed and unmourned. The purpose of this study, then, is to determine what renders a nonhuman animal life as significant and why. Specifically, the story of colony collapse disorder is traced, illustrating how the loss of honeybees became framed as an ecological whodunit. This framing incited widespread interest in and anxiety about the disappearance of honeybees. Moreover, the controversy surrounding colony collapse disorder encouraged the preemptive mourning of honeybees' extinction, a fact which has consequently increased their chances of survival. Therefore, I argue that the stories told about nonhuman animals have influence. This article contributes to literature that recognizes extinction as a distinctly biocultural process, shaped as much by cultural values as it is by scientific fact.


Portus, R. (in press). An ecological whodunit: The story of colony collapse disorder. Society and Animals,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 31, 2020
Online Publication Date Nov 3, 2020
Deposit Date Mar 1, 2021
Publicly Available Date Mar 12, 2021
Journal Society and Animals
Print ISSN 1063-1119
Electronic ISSN 1568-5306
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL


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