Just a Dog: Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves

Just a Dog: Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves

Just a Dog: Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves

Just a Dog: Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves

Synopsis

InJust a Dog, Arnold Arluke argues that animal cruelty must be understood in terms of social relationships rather than an individual's psychological problem or personality disorder. Arluke situates cruelty in actual situations where groups of people decide, on their own terms, what constitutes the wrongful harm of animals and how best to communicate their understanding to others. He captures how law enforcement agents, shelter workers, humane marketers, the general public, and animal abusers (or neglecters), make sense of animal cruelty. In each case, cruelty's meaning reflects the practical, personal, and ideological concerns of these groups and the wider social and cultural confusion over the nature and significance of animals and their proper treatment. He shows that these divergent definitions are not mere reflections of the social world but are actively created and used by group members to achieve sought-after identities.
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