‘Animals Just Love You as You Are’: Experiencing Kinship across the Species Barrier

Animals just love you as you are’: experiencing kinship across the species barrier Abstract This paper explores how affective relationships between humans and animals are understood and experienced

Nickie Charles

2014

Scholarcy highlights

  • Transformations in human-animal relations Historians have linked the rise of pet keeping in Britain and the US to processes of urbanisation in the 18th and 19th centuries and the associated exclusion of working and food animals from cities, culminating, in the first half of the 20th century, in the replacement of the draught horse with motor power
  • Animals just love you as you are’: experiencing kinship across the species barrier Abstract This paper explores how affective relationships between humans and animals are understood and experienced
  • Historians and writers have observed and commented upon the significance of such relationships at least since the industrial revolution and there is evidence of their existence in much earlier times. This suggests that affective relationships between humans and animals neither exist in isolation from other forms of animal-human relations nor are they a new phenomenon
  • With the rising affluence of the post-war years, pet keeping has increased, there has been a tendency towards keeping animals inside rather than outside the home and the positive impact of close emotional bonds between people and their pets has been recognised
  • Rather than the recent emergence of a new phenomenon associated with post-modernity, this suggests the continuation of a longstanding trend towards an increasingly widespread experience of affective human-animal connectedness
  • Correspondents to the Animals and Humans directive were 63% women and 37% men, 46% were over 60 and 19% of women and 20% of men were under 40
  • The responses to the Mass Observation Project directive make clear that, rather than its being peculiar and in need of comment that non-human animals are part of the social groups that we refer to as families, what is peculiar is that the close affinities between human and other animals have been so effectively hidden from view by the so-called species barrier that, until relatively recently, sociologists have been able to think of human societies as precisely that, without taking into account the myriad daily practices through which human and other animal lives are entwined

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