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Title: Cultural geographies of pet-keeping
Author: Fox, Rebekah Mary.
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis explores pet-keeping in contemporary Britain as an important form of everyday social and cultural relationship. Building upon previous work within animal geography, the research traces the various practices of breeding, discipline, care, control and play through which animals are produced as `pets' and pays attention to the geographies of these relationships as animals and their human companions move across a variety of sites and locations. In doing it engages with recent efforts to re-theorise ideas of 'nature, 'culture' `human' and `animal' and calls for a recognition of the `social as more than human', highlighting the importance of animals in everyday human relationships, identities and lives. Pets occupy a liminal position on the boundary between human/animal, culture/nature, wildness/civilisation, appreciated for their individuality and `animalness', but also subject to practices that attempt to `civilise' to become suitable inhabitants of human homes. Pet-keeping is a complex practice involving cross-species relationships of love and friendship, but also responsibility, control and possession. Thus companion animal ownership provides a useful means by which to understand the ways in which distinctions between the animal and the human are mobilized, disrupted, crossed and recrossed in the everyday business of making and becoming a pet. Using in-depth ethnographic research methods, this study pays attention to the intimate details of individual human-animal relationships and involves the application of recent theoretical perspectives to the embodied messiness of everyday life. Pet-keeping is seen as a heterogeneous and complex form of human-animal relationality, involving notions of difference both within and between the categories `pet' and `pet-owner'. By paying attention to both the specifics of individual human and animal experiences and wider questions of relationships with the non-human world, this research calls into question new understandings of sociality, kinship and more than human lives.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available