Just a Dog: Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves

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Temple University Press, 2006 - Nature - 231 pages
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Psychiatrists define cruelty to animals as a psychological problem or personality disorder. Legally, animal cruelty is described by a list of behaviors. In Just a Dog, Arnold Arluke argues that our current constructs of animal cruelty are decontextualizedimposed without regard to the experience of the groups committing the act. Yet those who engage in animal cruelty have their own understandings of their actions and of themselves as actors. In this fascinating book, Arluke probes those understandings and reveals the surprising complexities of our relationships with animals. Just a Dog draws from interviews with more than 250 people, including humane agents who enforce cruelty laws, college students who tell stories of childhood abuse of animals, hoarders who chronically neglect the welfare of many animals, shelter workers who cope with the ethics of euthanizing animals, and public relations experts who use incidents of animal cruelty for fundraising purposes. Through these case studies, Arluke shows how the meaning of "cruelty" reflects and helps to create identities and ideologies.

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Just a dog: understanding animal cruelty and ourselves

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Arluke (senior scholar, Tufts Ctr. for Animals & Public Policy;Brute Force: Animal Police and the Challenge of Cruelty ) explores here the definition of animal cruelty and the psychology of those who ... Read full review


Agents Feigning Authority
Adolescents Appropriating Adulthood
Hoarders Shoring Up Self
Shelter Workers Finding Authenticity
Marketers Celebrating Community
Cruelty Is Good to Think

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Page 21 - Thus a man's work is one of the things by which he is judged. and certainly one of the more significant things by which he judges himself.

About the author (2006)

Arnold Arluke is Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Northeastern University and Senior Scholar at Tufts University Center for Animals and Public Policy. He has published more than seventy articles and eight books, including Regarding Animals (Temple), and Brute Force: Animal Police and the Challenge of Cruelty.

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