AS302 Sociology of Animal Abuse

Course Description

The sociological approach to animal abuse examines human cruelty to animals from several perspectives. How do different groups arrive at definitions of animal abuse, and what claims are made by various groups, whether psychologists, legal scholars, or activists, to have a particular definition of abuse recognized? The course also critically examines the potential and contextual impact of cruelty to animals on people. Individualized forms of animal abuse, such as cruelty and neglect, and institutionalized abuses such as the use of animals for research, hunting, and food are also examined. 3 credits

Course Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the construction of social problems and apply sociological strategies to analyze this process
  • Critique the social construction of animal abuse
  • Explain how and why cultures give a wide range of meanings to animals

Course Topics

(Subject to Change)

  • Sociological approaches to social problems
  • Defining animals and defining "abuse"
  • The animal cruelty-violence "link"
  • The role of gender, age, and other variables
  • Institutionalized animal abuse
  • Policing animal abuse

Course Materials

(Subject to Change)

  • Arluke, Arnold. 2006. Just a Dog: Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Arluke, Arnold, and Clinton R. Sanders. 1996. Regarding Animals. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
  • Kitsuse, John, and Malcolm Spector. [1977] 2000. Constructing Social Problems. New Brunswick NJ: Transaction.