Animals and Sociology

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This paper outlines some of the major theoretical contributions of the specialty field known as ‘animals and society’. It examines three areas of focus within the field. One of these areas finds connections between our exploitation of animals and other forms of domination and oppression. Consequently, this body of research provides insight into how we might challenge and overcome inequality, more generally. A second area examines animal abuse and questions entrenched assumptions about the link between cruelty to animals and violence directed toward humans. This research also reveals that animals are often victims and pawns in domestic violence. A third area uses human–animal interaction to challenge dominant sociological views of the self. By doing so, this work expands our knowledge of what it means to live in a social world. Overall, the scholarly work within the field of animals and society suggests that the inclusion of animals in sociological research can expand and clarify existing theories and concepts.