In this book, Nik Taylor and Heather Fraser consider how we might better understand human-animal companionship in the context of domestic violence. The authors advocate an intersectional feminist understanding, drawing on a variety of data from numerous projects they have conducted with people, about their companion animals and links between domestic violence and animal abuse, arguing for a new understanding that enables animals to be constituted as victims of domestic violence in their own right. The chapters analyse the mutual, loving connections that can be formed across species, and in households where there is domestic violence. Companion Animals and Domestic Violence also speaks to the potentially soothing, healing and recovery oriented aspects of human-companion animal relationships before, during and after the violence, and will be of interest to various academic disciplines including social work, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, geography, as well as to professionals working in domestic violence or animal welfare service provision.
This book argues that qualitative methods, ethnography included, have tended to focus on the human at the cost of understanding humans and animals in relation, and that ethnography should evolve to account for the relationships between humans and other species. Intellectual recognition of this has arrived within the field of human-animal studies and in the philosophical development of posthumanism but there are few practical guidelines for research. Taking this problem as a starting point, the authors draw on a wide array of examples from visual methods, ethnodrama, poetry and movement studies to consider the political, philosophical and practical consequences of posthuman methods. They outline the possibilities for creative new forms of ethnography that eschew simplistic binaries between humans and animals.
Ethnography after Humanism suggests how researchers could conduct different forms of fieldwork and writing to include animals more fruitfully and will be of interest to students and scholars across a range of disciplines, including human-animal studies, sociology, criminology, animal geography, anthropology, social theory and natural resources. Available from publisher’s website or through online sellers.
Find out more about the project below and on its own website.
There are two parts to this collaborative project:
- The community exhibition project Domestic violence and the family pet (led by Northern Domestic Violence Service (NDVS), and Relationships Australia, South Australia (RASA, North) [not covered on this website], and,
- The research project Loving you, Loving me: domestic violence and companion animals: (led by Flinders researchers Fraser and Taylor) [covered here on this site].
- Raise community awareness of the link between domestic/family violence for women, child and companion animal survivors.
- Explore the importance of human-animal connections for many people (adults and children, Indigenous and non-Indigenous) especially during family crises and/or while recovering from domestic abuse.
- Recognise the existing work occurring in the northern suburbs of Adelaide that help to foster ongoing bonds with animals for women and children escaping domestic/family violence.
- Design a project that had a visual component so the animals could feature prominently.
- Consider the impact of domestic violence and recovery on animals.
- Connect with service providers about our shared interests
- Allow the focus to shift from perpetrators to victim/survivors experiences and their bonds with animal companions.
The link between human and animal violence is well established in and beyond Australia. It is important for social workers and other health and welfare professionals to pay attention to this, and consider the ethics associated with, and needs of pets/companion animals. Fears for animal companions left with violent perpetrators is a well-cited reason for some women (and their children) remaining with violent partners. Connections between humans and animals can be soothing and healing, especially after violent episodes and/or high moments of crisis. Recognising and publicising these positive and often undervalued connections is important, perhaps no more so than for socially and economically disadvantaged communities, such as those in the northern region of Adelaide, liable to being stereotyped as violent and dangerous places to live. Appreciating the needs of children affected by domestic/family violence is part of this project.
More information here – https://animalsanddomesticviolence.wordpress.com/
Nik was recently part of a panel at Avid Book Store in Brisbane discussing animal abuse and domestic violence. The panel included Heather Fraser (QUT) and Christine Craik (RMIT and President of the AASW). The panel was chaired by Paul Barclay from Radio National. You can hear the hour long panel discussion here.
Listen to Nik talking about her book Ethnography After Humanism on the Knowing Animals podcast.
Nik was recently interviewed by the Australasian Animal Studies Association about Companion Animals and Domestic Violence: Rescuing You, Rescuing Me. You can read the blog here.
Following a press release about Nik’s latest book, Companion Animals and Domestic Violence, she was interviewed for a story discussing the emotional safety animals offer survivors of domestic violence. You can see the story here.
Nik was recently on radio New Zealand discussing issues raised in her co-authored Companion Animals and Domestic Violence book.
You can hear the 10 minute interview here.