James K. BegganNov 3, 2023
How Our Love of Dogs Creates Social Conflict
Lexington Books 2022
For the last twenty-thousand years, dogs and people have shared a unique bond in the animal kingdom. In How Our Love of Dogs Creates Social Conflict (Lexington Books, 2022), Dr. James K. Beggan uses symbolic interaction to examine the meaning that dogs have for people as friends and family members. Although many animal rights advocates express dismay over the subordinate status ownership implies, the author argues that ownership creates a powerful psychological connection that makes it easier for people to imbue dogs with humanlike characteristics.
Dr. Beggan outlines how dogs’ sensitivity to inequity, in combination with a high degree of cognitive capacity, makes it possible for dogs to be active agents in creating conflict between people. The author's analysis of social conflict between people over their dogs connects to profound philosophical concepts about the nature of mind, the relationship between humans and animals, and the moral responsibility human beings have to dogs and other animals.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose forthcoming book focuses on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.