For the last twenty-thousand years, dogs and people have shared a unique bond in the animal kingdom. In How Our Love of Dogs Creates Social Conflict, James K. Beggan uses symbolic interaction to examine the meaning that dogs have for people as friends and family members. Although many animal rights advocates express dismay over the subordinate status ownership implies, the author argues that ownership creates a powerful psychological connection that makes it easier for people to imbue dogs with humanlike characteristics.
Beggan outlines how dogs’ sensitivity to inequity, in combination with a high degree of cognitive capacity, makes it possible for dogs to be active agents in creating conflict between people. The author's analysis of social conflict between people over their dogs connects to profound philosophical concepts about the nature of mind, the relationship between humans and animals, and the moral responsibility human beings have to dogs and other animals.
James K. Beggan is professor of sociology at the University of Louisville. He co-edited the volume Leadership and Sexuality: Power, Principles and Processes and wrote the books Sexual Harassment, the Abuse of Power and the Crisis of Leadership and The Dilemma of Coalition Formation in Consensual Nonmonogamy: Three Against Two Against One.
Chapter 1: The Importance of Dogs
Chapter 2: Identity and Dog Ownership
Chapter 3: Constructing a Liminal Space for Dogs
Chapter 4: Conceptualizing Triads
Chapter 5: Triads of Dogs and People
Chapter 6: The Moral Weight of Animal Minds
Chapter 7: The Perception of Dogs as People
Chapter 8: Dogs as Active Agents in Social Conflict
Chapter 9: Dogs and Societal Conflict
"A thought-provoking, readable, and robustly researched documentation of the complexity of humans' relationships with dogs."
11/3/2023, New Books Network- Podcast: Author James K. Beggan talked about his book How Our Love of Dogs Creates Social Conflict.