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Introduction: Thinking About Animals

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Chapter Summary

This chapter is an exercise in conceptual cartography. Its purpose is to help contribute clarity and order to the myriad forms that human-animal interactions can take, to the wide diversity of academic disciplines involved in the study of those interactions, and to the many sites where active intervention on behalf of abused animals occurs. The discussion is not 'theoretical' as such, but undertakes the more modest, pretheoretical task of constructing what might alternatively be termed a unified heuristic field, a classificatory system, an analytical framework, or a sociological map. The map comprises seven regions: nature; demography; economy; politics; community; welfare; and culture. The seven spheres mutually determine one another, and no one zone, be it economic, political, cultural or whatever, has ontological priority. In the chapter, they have been teased apart for analytical clarity, but in messy reality they are inextricably interwoven.

Keywords:conceptual cartography; human-animal interactions; sociological map

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