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Domestication and the dog: embodying home

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Abstract:

Domestication is one of the most significant relations shaping human and nonhuman livelihoods. Traditional examinations of the relation have emphasised the centrality of human intentionality and control. In contrast, research in geography in the last 10 years has demonstrated the limitations of human agency, and the role of surprise, experiment and uncertainty in these relations. Despite this burgeoning interest, there has been little detailed empirical research into these relations, and particularly into the ways that domestication is imagined, practised and maintained in the everyday. Focusing on dogs as companion animals, the paper addresses this gap, examining everyday relations taking place between people and dogs in the house‐as‐home. It argues that everyday practices of home have long been central to domestication, but that these relations have expanded and consolidated in the contemporary period. In this context, the everyday domestication of dogs is entwined with the performance of ‘respectable’ middle‐class identities through home.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4762.2012.01098.x

Affiliations: School of Social Sciences and Psychology, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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