Regarding Animals

Overview

How is it that people can express great affection for animals as sentient creatures and yet turn a blind eye to the most callous behavior toward them? Animals are sold as expensive commodities, used as food and clothing, killed as vermin, and hunted for sport. They are also treated as members of the family, used as the cause celebre of social movements, and make the subject of art, film, and poetry. Such contradictions compel the authors to explore the social worlds of veterinary clinics, animal shelters, primate...

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Regarding Animals

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Overview

How is it that people can express great affection for animals as sentient creatures and yet turn a blind eye to the most callous behavior toward them? Animals are sold as expensive commodities, used as food and clothing, killed as vermin, and hunted for sport. They are also treated as members of the family, used as the cause celebre of social movements, and make the subject of art, film, and poetry. Such contradictions compel the authors to explore the social worlds of veterinary clinics, animal shelters, primate labs, and others through active participation.

Regarding Animals chronicles the day-to-day experiences of people who work in these places and reveals the complex strategies used to cope with the emotional traumas of the job. Combining sociological analysis with personal experience, the authors offer fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking insights into the history and practice of how we as human beings construct animals and how we ultimately construct ourselves in relation to them.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Ethnographers Arluke and Sanders, both professors of sociology, pose the question, What does the contradictory way society treats animals say about the individuals in the society itself? The authors explore the conflicting attitudes of people who work in animal shelters and primate labs and, in the most interesting section of the book, investigate the contradictions between treatment of humans and treatment of animals by the Nazis during WWII. Humans simultaneously treat animals with great affection and abuse, thereby demonstrating how they create and dissolve boundaries between themselves and animals. It is clearly not the authors' objective to preach or judge, but rather to observe the socially constructed view of animals that ultimately sheds a brilliant light on the humans who are doing the constructing. We see how people compartmentalize themselves and differentiate themselves from animals to express power, control and superiority. Although revealing and thought-provoking anecdotes told to or witnessed by the ethnographers are mixed in with the dense sociological analysis, it seems unlikely that this study will reach beyond a college classroom and find its way into the hands of the average reader. July
From the Publisher

"The ways in which we 'regard' animals have a great deal to do with the ways in which we regard ourselves and the social contexts in which we live, the authors suggest....Each of them has spent considerable time working in shelters, research laboratories, and other institutions where human-animal interactions take place....The book is packed with interesting facts and intriguing insight."
The Bloomsbury Review

"It is clearly not the authors' objective to preach or judge, but rather to observe the socially constructed view of animals that ultimately sheds brilliant light on the humans who are doing the constructing."
Publishers Weekly

"If the contemporary literature on human-animal relations has something like a modern 'classic' it is Arluke and Sanders's Regarding Animals.... "
Sociological Forum

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566394413
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Series: Animals, Culture and Society Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Arnold Arluke is Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University and a Research Associate at the Center for Animals and Public Policy at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine. He is an Associate Editor of Society and Animals and the author of The Making of Rehabilitation: A Political Economy of Medical Specialization with Glenn Gritzer and Gossip: The Inside Scoop with Jack Levin.

Clinton R. Sanders, Professor of Sociology at the University of Connecticut, is the author of Customizing the Body: The Art and Culture of Tattooing (Temple) and the co-editor (with Jeff Ferrell) of Cultural Criminology.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: Bringing Animals to the Center 1
Pt. I The Human-Animal Tribe
1 The Human Point of View 9
2 Learning from Animals 41
Pt. II Living with Contradiction
3 Speaking for Dogs 61
4 The Institutional Self of Shelter Workers 82
5 Systems of Meaning in Primate Labs 107
6 Boundary Work in Nazi Germany 132
7 The Sociozoologic Scale 167
Conclusion: Paradox and Change 187
References 193
Index 213
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