Title page for ETD etd-07112006-183314

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Reed, Amanda Kelly
Author's Email Address areed3@lsu.edu
URN etd-07112006-183314
Title Companion Animals as Being-Objects: The Role of the Self/Other Binary in the Human-Animal Bond
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Miles Richardson Committee Chair
Mary J. Brody Committee Member
Robert Tague Committee Member
  • human-animal relationship
  • self/other binary
  • dogs
  • animal control center
Date of Defense 2006-06-12
Availability unrestricted
This research project is an investigation into the human-dog bond and the practice of pet adoption and pet surrender at the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control Center. The human-dog bond is an excellent vehicle for an investigation into how we create categories of other because it is a highly complex and intersubjective relationship with deep evolutionary roots that is often reduced to a relationship between possessor and possessed in which cultural, historical, and biological contexts are not considered. It is a relationship in which constructed meaning is taken for fact.

This thesis explores how animal control centers both resist and reinforce the perception of companion animals as being-objects. The term being-objects is used to denote the tactic we employ by categorizing companion animals as beings when convenient and as disposable objects when necessary. When we categorize companion animals as objects, we other them. We create an unfair identity for them in order to distance ourselves from an uncomfortable confrontation with the reality of pet euthanasia. The author of this thesis will explore how meaning is socially constructed in the E.B.R.P. Animal Control Center through a discussion of the way we speak about animal control centers, the location and arrangement of the E.B.R.P. Animal Control Center, and the performance of adoption and surrender processes within the center.

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