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Just a Dog: Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves (Animals Culture and Society) Hardcover – June 28, 2006

ISBN-13: 978-1592134717 ISBN-10: 1592134718

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Product Details

  • Series: Animals Culture and Society
  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press (June 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592134718
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592134717
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,779,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Arluke (Regarding Animals), an authority on animal cruelty, believes that in order to formulate effective programs and policies to combat such behavior, society must have an in-depth understanding of why people mistreat or neglect animals and of the cultural and social factors that encourage abuse. In this dense and overly long sociological study, he reports on the results of interviews with five groups of people: law enforcement agents who investigate incidents of abuse, adolescent animal abusers, animal hoarders, animal shelter workers (including those who must sometimes euthanize animals as well as those who believe no animal should ever be killed) and public relations experts who use animal cruelty as a marketing tool for fund-raising and education. Arluke examines the experiences and motivations of each group and reflects on how individuals think about their actions"whether cruel or humane"and use them to create identities for themselves. Wisely, the author keeps passages describing specific examples of cruelty to a minimum, and he refrains from making moral judgments. But Arluke's academic approach and language are off-putting, thwarting his objective of stimulating discussion and debate among the general public about the nature of animal cruelty and the importance of finding new ways to deal with it. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Through courageous research Arluke set aside his judgment to explore how abusers see their behavior. He has given us a sociological understanding of animal abuse that recognizes the situational quality of cruelty and its ability to shape identity....In Just a Dog, Arnold Arluke uses cruelty to raise questions about what it means to be human. He also adds to our understanding of the complex and conflicting ways we humans regard other animals."
—Contemporary Sociology



"Arluke (Regarding Animals), an authority on animal cruelty, believes that in order to formulate effective programs and policies to combat such behavior, society must have an in-depth understanding of why people mistreat or neglect animals and of the cultural and social factors that encourage abuse. Wisely, the author keeps passages describing specific examples of cruelty to a minimum, and he refrains from making moral judgments."
—Publishers Weekly


More About the Author

Arnie Arluke is Professor of Sociology at Northeastern University and Senior Scholar at the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy. His research examines conflicts and contradictions in human-animal relationships. His writing has received awards from the American Sociological Association, the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction, the International Association for Human-Animal Interaction Organizations, and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. He edits with Clinton Sanders the Animals, Culture, and Society series for Temple University Press.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By D_shrink VINE VOICE on February 15, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author does a good job of presenting a fairly balanced description of what constitutes animal abuse, who does it, and why they do it.

Among the relevant points presented are:
1. "[W]orkers in animal laboratories or slaughterhouses, for example, are thought to undergo desensitization as a coping mechanism." P8
2. "[SPCA] agents think of professionalism as an ability to maintain emotional distance form cases." P43
3. Adolescents who engage in animal cruelty, which the author calls dirty play, sometimes do it to see if what adults say about things as cruelty is true and at other times, do it simply out of boredom. P56

However, I found the best chapter of the book to be the one on animal hoarders, especially as in my home city of Charleston, we are currently hearing about a man who killed over 200 hunting dogs, and was still found with about 45 more malnourished dogs at the time of his arrest, when neighbors alerted authorities to a terrible smell coming from his property. And just as the book predicted his defense is that he was simply a kindly man who wanted to help as many animals as he could, but things simply got out of hand. Yeah, and his saintly nature is why they found 200+ animal corpses in various stages of decay on his property. Having read this one chapter in the book almost makes it unnecessary to read the daily news on this event as it was all foretold in the book with the names and places changed. The author and I may disagree on this point, but I find these individuals to be suffering from anxiety types of disorders, and as he stated in the book, the man did not get along with other people, which is why it took the stink from 200 dead hunting dogs to cause neighbors to complain to local authorities.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lngarrison on January 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
I was doing a research paper on animal shelters and while trying to understand the euthanasia debate, Arluke gave great unbaised research especially about the choices animal shelter workers must make when working at an open admissions shelter.

Although extremely informative, it should be updated (i.e., Utah is not an entire state of 'no kill' policies, although it is striving to do so).
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Judith Shapiro on May 28, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book offers some useful ethnographic information on how animal cruelty is understood and talked about by humane agents, teen-agers, hoarders, shelter workers, marketers and media, and how people in these positions are seen by others. Unfortunately, it is also tedious, repetitious, and uninspired in its cultural analysis of animal cruelty as a window into how we see the relationship between humans and their fellow creatures.
The author's mechanical use of the distinction between a "normative" and a "descriptive" approach (i.e. that he is not making judgments, but rather simply giving an objective account) ill fits his subject; his approach to it is also rather naïve at this point in the history of the social sciences. The main upshot is a rather flattened account of what Arluke himself recognizes as a morally, legally, culturally, emotionally complex and compelling subject.
Arluke draws on the work of some truly original and interesting thinkers - notably, Clifford Geertz and Claude Levi-Strauss - unfortunately, to very little effect. His use of Levi-Strauss's analysis of why animals are "good to think" is especially unfortunate; in calling animal cruelty "good to think", Arluke simply sows confusion in the mind of anyone who has felt truly enlightened by Levi-Strauss's brilliant analysis of totemism .
My own favorite sentence in the book comes in the last paragraph, as the author is wrestling with the constraints imposed by his own concept of what is proper behavior for a sociologist: "I certainly struggled for the right words to describe the mistreatment of animals, but no matter how I expressed my thinking, it always fell short of what I suspected was the reality." One virtue this book definitely does have is honesty.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. Jaksch on April 5, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I chose this book for a class assignment, but it's a great book and came in a very timely manner and in really great condition. I'd definitely purchase from this seller again in the future.
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