cover image Regarding Animals PB

Regarding Animals PB

Arnold Arluke, PH.D.. Temple University Press, $25.95 (218pp) ISBN 978-1-56639-441-3

Ethnographers Arluke and Sanders, both professors of sociology, pose the question, What does the contradictory way society treats animals say about the individuals in the society itself? The authors explore the conflicting attitudes of people who work in animal shelters and primate labs and, in the most interesting section of the book, investigate the contradictions between treatment of humans and treatment of animals by the Nazis during WWII. Humans simultaneously treat animals with great affection and abuse, thereby demonstrating how they create and dissolve boundaries between themselves and animals. It is clearly not the authors' objective to preach or judge, but rather to observe the socially constructed view of animals that ultimately sheds a brilliant light on the humans who are doing the constructing. We see how people compartmentalize themselves and differentiate themselves from animals to express power, control and superiority. Although revealing and thought-provoking anecdotes told to or witnessed by the ethnographers are mixed in with the dense sociological analysis, it seems unlikely that this study will reach beyond a college classroom and find its way into the hands of the average reader. (July)