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Animals and Sociology, 1st Edition by Kay Peggs (auth.)

By Kay Peggs (auth.)

Animals and Sociology demanding situations conventional assumptions in regards to the nature of sociology. Sociology frequently centres on people; in spite of the fact that, different animals are in all places in society.Kay Peggs explores the numerous contribution that sociology could make to our figuring out of human family with different animals.

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G. that human ideas and beliefs exist beyond the individuals who have Animals and Biology as Destiny 25 them). Taking human notions of what is a ‘human’ and what is an ‘animal’ as a case in point, he says, ‘The idea of man or of animal is not personal to me; it is to a large extent common to me with all the people that belong to the same social group as me’ (Durkheim, 2005, p. 37). Hence, for Durkheim, our notion of ‘human’ or of ‘animal’ (or of any other concept for that matter) is common to individuals in society, but it is only because they are common that we can engage in what he calls ‘intellectual exchange’ with each other (2005, p.

118). Therefore, what are taken to be truths are actually socially constructed from within discourses (Foucault, 1980, p. 118); we cannot get to the ‘truth’ out there, outside of our way of describing the world. Returning to the purported naturally stratified distinction between humans and other animals, analysis of discourse suggests that the ways in which we communicate about this division actually constructs this division. The distinct discourses used about various animals, for example describing them as either ‘animal’ or ‘human’, construct how we view ourselves and the other animals under discussion.

Social constructionists argue that sociologists should go further than merely challenging ideas about the biological foundations of human behaviour because phenomena that are seen as naturally given are in fact social constructions. From this perspective, the human view of what is ‘natural’ and what is ‘societal’ is itself socially produced. As Arluke and Sanders make clear, social constructions manipulate what we think because ‘they do nothing less than shape our consciousness’ (1996, p. 16). This is plain when we consider how the meaning of ‘animal’ seems to be naturally given, permanent and unalterable (1996, p.

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