- Format: Hardcover
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-7480-2
- Pages: 288
- Price: £85.00
- Published Date: January 2024
- Series: Inscriptions
Do dogs belong with humans? Scientific accounts of dogs' 'species story,' in which contemporary dog-human relations are naturalised with reference to dogs' evolutionary becoming, suggest that they do. Dog politics dissects this story.
This book offers a rich empirical analysis and critique of the development and consolidation of dogs' species story in science, asking what evidence exists to support it, and what practical consequences, for dogs, follow from it. It explores how this story is woven into broader scientific shifts in understandings of species, animals, and animal behaviours, and how such shifts were informed by and informed transformative political events, including slavery and colonialism, the Second World War and its aftermath, and the emergence of anti-racist movements in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The book pays particular attention to how species-thinking bears on 'race,' racism, and individuals.
'In this brilliant and detailed text, Mariam Motamedi Fraser systematically challenges the apparent common sense of "species stories" which presume a naturalised relationality and entanglement between humans and dogs. Dog politics understands these stories of relationality - found in everyday culture, scientific studies and in much recent posthumanist theorisation - as political in nature, making note of their persistence, their extent and their power. Motamedi Fraser reminds readers that stories around species inform regimes of domination and violence: relevant to the lives of dogs, these discourses have material effects for political relations between bodies, whether this is in the family home, as part of training regimes, at the puppy farm or in the animal shelter. Dog politics thus offers an overdue and unflinching intervention into the study of 'species' as a political category, its implicit anthropocentricism, and attendant material and epistemic violence. Importantly, Dog politics points readers towards a fundamental and critical question for animal studies and posthumanism: "What does it mean to actually work towards freedom for the animals we are entangled with?"'
Dinesh Wadiwel, Associate Professor, University of Sydney
Introduction: Senta's howl
1 It's a dog's life, and there's nothing natural about it
2 Dogs' species story
3. Vanishing animals: How to turn an individual dog into a species ambassador
4 Do dogs work? The labour of 'the bond'
5 Dog disputes: scientific research with dogs
6 On the deathlessness of 'the dog:' species, 'race' and individuals
7 Dog politics
Mariam Motamedi Fraser is Reader in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London