Mostly Trapping

Negotiating relations with urban coyotes via Facebook
Dec 12, 2019 09:07 ET
Comments: Abstract

Community and city Facebook pages have proliferated in popularity in the last several years, offering a forum for residents to openly and publicly negotiate relations with urban wildlife, including coyotes. Contemporary shifts in North American coyote geographies (and the concomitant rise in community social media sites) thus open up interesting possibilities for exploring how public pedagogies might challenge problematic human-nature and urban-wild binaries. We begin this article by articulating why studying urban coyotes is an important task for the field of environmental education. Next, we develop our nascent theoretical framework of interspecies public pedagogy, which draws on theories of public pedagogy and naturecultures. We follow by methodologically situating this research within diverse ethnographic approaches, which we use to study Facebook community pages in two U.S. cities, Philadelphia, PA and Chino/Chino Hills, CA. Our analysis demonstrates how the pedagogical strategies residents employ encourage debates about how their lives are entangled with coyotes, land, and other people, and yet are limited in that they do not completely redefine the role of public urban spaces. Before discussing the implications of this research, we briefly explore some possibilities for interspecies public pedagogies in real-life public spaces, as well as in cyberspace.