The last few decades have seen rising interest in human relationships with other species. This interest is broadly recognised as the human–animal studies field – a broad, multidisciplinary field that addresses both symbolic and material relationships between humans and other animals (e.g. DeMello, 2012; Taylor, 2013). Acknowledging the need to incorporate other species has proven difficult for sociology, whose disciplinary boundaries were historically constituted around the designation of an arena – ‘the social’ – which was defined as exclusively human. These difficulties notwithstanding, sociologists have contributed significantly to the ‘animal turn’ in academia (Franklin in Armstrong and Simmons, 2007: 1). And while sociology has historically situated itself firmly within a human-specific understanding of the social world, there has been a burgeoning of multi-species scholarship (see for example, Arluke and Sanders, 1996; Cudworth, 2011; Irvine, 2004; Nibert, 2003; Peggs, 2013; Taylor and Twine, 2014). This special section affords a timely snapshot of how sociologists are engaging with and responding to this ‘animal turn’. In particular, it foregrounds how multi-species perspectives can open up new and critical vistas on long-held disciplinary assumptions and concepts. In this sense, sociology can also benefit from the multi-species turn as a way of developing less human-centric understandings of social lives.
- Multi-Species Relations
- Sociology of Multi-Species Relations
- human relationships with other species
- ‘animal turn’
- multi-species perspectives
- human-centric understandings