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Social Creatures

A Human and Animal Studies Reader

Edited by Clif Flynn

Other-than-human animals are an overwhelming presence in our collective and individual lives and, at the same time, are taken for granted by human animals. Sociologists have neglected the study of human-animal interaction and the role of animals in society. This is true, despite the fact that animals are an integral part of our lives: in our language, food, families, economy, education, science, and recreation.

In more than thirty essays, Social Creatures examines the role of animals in human society. Collected from a wide range of periodicals and books, these important works of scholarship examine such issues as how animal shelter workers view the pets in their care, why some people hoard animals, animals and women who experience domestic abuse, philosophical and feminist analyses of our moral obligations toward animals, and many other topics.

Social Creatures includes work by Peter Singer, Tom Regan, Carol J. Adams, Josephine Donovan, Barbara Noske, Arnold Arluke, Ken Shapiro, and many leading scholars, anthropologists, and psychologists. The book also comes with an extensive bibliography of hundreds of articles and books.

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Inspired by the dynamic new field of Human-Animal Studies (HAS), award-winning professor of sociology Clifton Flynn has gathered a collection of 30 multi-disciplinary papers in which scientists, sociologists, philosophers, and others discuss our relationship to animals. Despite the fact that more Americans raise companion animals than children, as well as our reliance on them for science, food, and entertainment, we have completely suppressed our kinship with animals in order to maintain our profoundly disrespectful treatment of them—until now. It’s been just 30 years since academics have begun to take the human-animal bond seriously, prompting the development of HAS. The discipline is primarily anthropocentric, discussing what our animal-interactions teach us about humans as well as the economic, environmental, health, and cultural impact. But with contributions from the likes of Tom Regan and Carol J. Adams, Flynn hopes readers will also consider the ways in which we affect and are responsible for non-human animals.

480 pp.  
6 1/8" x 9 1/4"

Lantern Books


Published:  June 2008


Clif Flynn is a professor of sociology at the University of South Carolina Upstate. In 2001, he was awarded the New Animals & Society Course Award by the Humane Society of the United States, and in 2008, was named a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. See all books by Clif Flynn

Related Titles

  • Teaching the Animal : Human–Animal Studies across the Disciplines
  • Understanding Animal Abuse : A Sociological Analysis
  • Humans, Animals, and Society : An Introduction to Human-Animal Studies
  • Related Titles by Subject:

    Animal Advocacy: Social Questions

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