The Palmer House where the Animals and Society Section sessions were held.
Regular Session 374: Human - Animal Interaction (Leslie Irvine, Organizer)
Farm Animals as Fictitious Commodities
Diana Stuart and Ryan Gunderson, Michigan State University
This paper examines how animals, along with land and labor, represent fictitious commodities as described by Karl Polanyi. Farm animals are explored as an extreme example of animal commodification whose use resembles the exploitation of land and labor. Conceptual frameworks developed from Marxist theory, including the subsumption of nature, the second contradiction of capitalism, and alienation, are applied to illustrate that the animal welfare, ecological, and public health risks associated with livestock production are caused by attempts to overcome the incomplete commodification of farm animals. As with land and labor, counter-movements have emerged to protect farm animals. This paper illustrates how social theory can be extended to apply to animals, especially animals that are deeply embedded in human society. The inclusion of animals in social analyses also serves to strengthen our overall understanding of exploitation and oppression under capitalism.
The Post-Human Identity: Childless Couples, Animal Children and Fertility Choices
Andrea Laurent-Simpson, Texas Women's University
Using a posthumanist approach, this paper explores the parent identity formed by some childless people in relation to their companion animal "children" while considering the effect that this identity formation may have on maintaining fertility choices. Several research questions are explored: Do childless companion animal owners develop a parent identity counter to the animal that they label child? What kinds of role behavior are exhibited with enactment of this identity in relation to the animal and is the identity supported externally? Does the parent identity support or maintain previous fertility choices within the family? Qualitative analysis of semi-structured, in-depth interviews with companion animal guardians that either have human children or do not have human children is used to explore these questions. Results provide evidence on identity formation in relation to nonhumans while highlighting the effects of the parent identity on fertility choices within the family unit.
Paper Session 419: Sex, Gender and the Non-Human Body (Colter Ellis, Organizer)
A Cat-Size Hole in My Heart: Companion Animal Adoption as Social Action
Jennifer Blevins Sinski, University of Louisville
The companion animal adoption process differs between public shelter, non-profit all-breed shelter, non-profit all-breed rescue and non-profit breed specific rescue organizations. While some organizations require an application and fee, others require telephone interviews, vet interviews and home visits. This research examines the differences in organizational process and the resulting impact on the potential adopter, as well as, the meaning of adoption to potential adopters and how that meaning might motivate adopters to choose particular organizations to adopt from. The results from a survey of 360 Bark magazine readers and 36 in-depth interviews are analyzed. Adopters viewed the adoption of companion animals as an ethical or moral obligation and their insights on the experience are contained within. The researcher utilizes New Social Movement and Frames theory to position adoption as social activism.
Navigating the Role of Responsibility: Habitus, Socialization and Human Impact on Animal Welfare
Erica Nicole Kidder
New Possibilities: Gender and Embodyment in the Human - Horse Context
Kari Jacqueline Brandt, Fort Lewis College
It is well known by now that paying attention to human-animal relationships can offer insights into the human experience. While many scholars have done well in demonstrating this, few have explored questions of gendered embodiment specifically in the context of human-animal relationships. This paper explores how women's experiences with their horses offered alternate modes of bodily modalities that shifted their experience, as humans and as women, of gendered embodiment. Using ethnographic data of in-depth interviews and participant observation, I focus on what the women describe as feeling a sense of "oneness" with their horses. Born out of the high level of physical contact between horses and riders, -oneness" is a momentary, altered sense of embodiment when the horsewomen felt as if they were sharing one body with their horses. This shift in their embodied experience offered new possibilities for them to reimagine themselves as embodied subjects, female subjects, in new and different ways. I argue that their narratives about themselves in relation to horses provide a unique vantage point from which to look at the lived experience of embodiment and gender and, indeed, the power of human-animal relationships to alter the human experience.
Animals as ornaments are a motif of 19th-century Eclectic architecture.
Animals and Society Roundtable Session 461
(Kari Jacqueline Brandt Organizer and Presider)
Media Created by the Animal Rights Movement: The Processes of Frame Alignment
Holly Pottle, Fort Lewis College
Shifting Paradigms, Shifting Genders: Changes in Animal Sheltering
Jennifer Blevins Sinski, University of Louisville
Qualitative field research was conducted on the role that animal shelter directors play in creating an organization that is either open or closed to sharing information and/or responsibilities with volunteers from the general public and non-profit animal welfare organizations. While much sociological research has been done regarding humans and companion animal relationships, very little applied research has been done on animal sheltering of abandoned and stray companion animals. Two trends have been identified in the field of animal sheltering - increasing numbers of women entering the field and increasing number of organizations advocating for reducing euthanasia rates for companion animals held in shelters. Through participant observation, focus group interview and in-depth interviews with animal shelter directors, these trends are verified.
The Social Construction of Invasive Species: A Comparative Approach
Colter Ellis, Montana State University; Andrew J. Prelog, Colorado State University
Tail in the air, an Art Nouveau fish, grins downward like a gargoyle.
Award Presentation at the Business Meeting
see "2015 Scholarship Awards" tab on main menu
The golden ram, Chrysomallos, rewarded a classic adventure.