Muddied Living: making home with dog companions

Article


Cudworth, E. 2019. Muddied Living: making home with dog companions. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy.
AuthorsCudworth, E.
Abstract

Purpose
Focusing on everyday lives and relationships within the household, this paper suggests that the quality of ‘home’ is altered by the presence of animal companions. Conceptions of home as a haven have been critiqued on grounds of the elision of power relations, yet home has also been understood as a place of resistance to, and refuge from, an exploitative and exclusionary public world. Acknowledging differentiated relations of power and understanding homemaking as a process, this paper investigates the playing out of species relations within home space.

Design/methodology/approach
This paper draws on empirical material from a study of companion species in households and public spaces, deploying ethnographic material gained through extended observation and semi-structured and often mobile interviews with dog ‘owners’ in urban and rural contexts in the UK.

Findings
Dogs transform domestic space through muddying human lives. This process is twofold. First, life in posthumanist households problematizes boundaries between humans and other creatures in terms of relationships, behaviour and use of space. Second, muddied living involves breaching and maintaining domestic order. Muddied living is characterised by tension, power and compromise. Homes are posthuman not just by including non-human animals, but through elements of dog agency in how home is made.

Originality
Little has been written of ‘home’ within sociology, despite ‘home’ capturing a range of social practice. Sociologists examining human-animal companion relations have not considered how relations play out in home space. This paper investigates home as a shared space of multispecies interaction, making the case for a posthuman sociology of home.

KeywordsCompanion species; dogs; home; power; space
JournalInternational Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
ISSN0144-333X
Year2019
PublisherEmerald
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Anyone
Publication process dates
Accepted14 Oct 2019
Deposited14 Oct 2019
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https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/872q2

Accepted author manuscript

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