Should Sociology Study Animals? Assignment Sample

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Introduction of Should Sociology Study Animals? Assignment

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Sociology is a study of Social Science that focuses on studying human societies, their interaction and the different processes that help in preserving and changing them. This is done by examining different dynamics of constituent parts of society such communities, institutions, populations, gender, racial or age groups. There have been a significant slow growing number of studies that have focused on interesting animal-human connection. When someone talks about society and its components, it not only includes human beings but also other living creatures of the society. The studies that have been done or other focused on the micro level of the relationship between human and animal companions or focused on the symbolic meaning where people ascribe to animals.

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Sociology as a part of the study centres its attention only on human societies, but as stated societies are broader than the human. Most of the humans live in relation to other non-human animals and these relations are more or less based in the human oppression of non-human animals. Although, there has been an increasing role in social enquiry where human relations with non-human animals are taking place. It can be stated that the socially gorgeous look at the study of these relationships as something which is marginal to proper human focus of sociology. It has been found out that sociology is not focused on the study of animals as the Social Sciences from the previous ages have discontinued themselves between the animals and humans. Certainly, the social context of today does not agree (Cudworth, 2016). Despite several attempts and increasing social logical interest in the relationship formed between nonhuman animals and humans, sociological traditions have always excluded the study of animals from sociology as it is viewed as marginal. In the 1970s, Clifton Bryant focused on ensuring that the sociologist recognised the important role that animals have in human societies as well. Bryant had argued that the human society is suffused with animals and therefore studying about it can help the sociologists in gaining a great deal from investigating the reality. For example, the situation where human beings eat the flesh of animals should be considered or wear their skin and hair as clothing. Animals also live with the human beings as their pets and are seen to do a lot of work for the humans in several ways (Carter and Charles, 2018). Often, human beings use these animals for their entertainment. Bryant has termed this as the zoological connection for the purpose of encapsulating the influence of animals in human societies. But this part of zoological connection has been neglected by the sociologists for all this time.

It can be stated that this part of zoological connection between humans and animals should be paid attention to in order to understand the interactional process that takes place between them and can work as social motivation. It can focus on influencing the value system of individual perception, creating socialization and help in personality development. Even after this call made by Bryant, the researchers have not significantly worked upon studying the animal-human relationship and registered it in Sociology (Velasco, 2021). Even when sociologists have found it quite difficult to imagine a sociology which focuses on understanding the relationship between human beings and animals, other sociologists such as Bryant (1979), Andrian Franklin (1996), and Rhoda Wilkie (2010) have the attention to the study of sociology of animals. According to Richard Twine, the animal studies have significantly focused on the development that takes place in a multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary way and has emerged from the Humanities and Social Sciences. These studies have focused on putting their attention on re-evaluating the role and presence of animals in human societies (DeMello, 2021). Although, despite the findings of animal studies that have emerged from social scientific origins, the study of animals is treated as marginal in the sociological studies. This is the fact that lies in the traditional acceptance of sociological perspective of the categorical differences that take place between humans and animals that has been observed by Alger (Grauerholz et al., 2020). In accordance with sociological studies, animals are considered to be inferior beings in order to construct humans as superior.

It has been found out that animals are put outside the realms of sociological inquiry due to their lack of imagination, perception and language which presents as a barrier in the process of development of what has been called as ‘sociological other animal studies’. It has been argued that human beings are capable of using language as one of the most important aspects in the development of their shared meaning and sense of self, which has been able to contribute to a proper subject matter of sociology. It has been found out that shade meaning is very important in the process of communication and interaction, and it has been claimed that shared meanings are one of the distinctive features of humans in societies. Although, it has also been accepted that animals could carry out meaningful actions that can be helpful in designing the process of attaining a goal. But it can also be argued that their behaviour lacks premeditation and shed meaning which focuses on characterizing human behaviour. From around 1990, different views of the sociologists have demonstrated that the animals can consciously participate in forming meaningful interaction with human beings with the help of the studies and the relationship of dogs and cats with their owners (Machalek and Martin, 2020).

Sociologist C. D. Bryant had argued that animal related human behaviour is one of the key aspects of society and it has been noted that dogs especially are often a family member or a member of human social groups that take part in the role of surrogate family members such as children. They have also stated that it is quite similar to the interaction with humans that lack speech such as disabled individuals or very young children; it has been found out that shared meaning can also be achieved without the help of a language (Burningham, 2021). This can take place with the help of shared emotions and perceptions that usually arises in common activities. The Algers provided examples where the cats have the capability of anticipating any kind of events that might take place, along with having the ability of solving problems and deciding between different alternatives, behaving in a way that helps them in reflecting their life history along with this playing empathy towards humans. It has been proven that most of the pet owners have a feeling that their animals are capable of having a complex thought process, this place individual personalities are capable of relating emotionally to them and also plays a significant role in their family (Burningham, 2021). This perspective and evidence are disregarded by most of the sociologists, but according to Clinton Sanders, this ignorance actually eliminates the actual experience of the social interaction that takes place between human beings with animals. Sociology should therefore focus on accepting the evidence and views that animals are also capable of interacting in a meaningful manner with others and that societies are not only made up of human beings. It should also be considered that the animals also actively contribute in the process of their evolution.

According to sociologists, there is a difference between gesture conversation that can be seen as characterizing the instinctive act in which both the animals and human beings engage themselves in, and the social act of communication that takes place via significance symbols such as language. In the perspective of sociologists, the conversations of gestures that take place are not very significant for sociology; it is the communication that takes place between them with the help of language that is concluded as the proper subject matter for sociology in accordance with the perspective of the sociologists (Mattes et al., 2021). This is due to the fact that sociologists more or less view language as enabling human and only human beings for the purpose of anticipating the consequences of their actions along with having the ability of evaluating alternatives, organising their actions with others and so on. According to Mead, This can be accepted as a proper evidence of the unique human ability to imagine. According to him, it is this ability that has allowed the human beings to give themselves as they are the external object and this human attribute has been able to demonstrate the revolutionary advancements of human beings on animals.

It is very difficult to understand why the relationship between humans and animals have been kept marginal in the traditional acceptable sociology when the sociologists can so much from exploring the multiplicity of the human relationship with animals. However, it has been argued that there is a scope for sociology which is beyond the relationship of animals and humans as these relationships have become very much conflicting in nature (Taylor and Sutton, 2018). According to the feminist sociologists, it has been stated that human animal relationship differ greatly on historical and cross-cultural platforms, whereas it is very difficult to deny that the animals are exploited and oppressed by human beings, and the human benefit from this oppression and exploitation. Yet, sociology has not been able to report this oppression that has taken place over the years. It has been found out that the early sociological work on the relationship form between human and animal have solely focused on several ways in which animals have been utilised by the human being as a source of economic profitability (Taylor and Sutton, 2018).

It can be stated that sociology has the power and capacity to conceptualize every unethical treatment of animals that take place within contemporary social structures. The well-being of humans is directly connected to the well-being of other living species on Earth (Wrenn, 2015). It has been found out that shattering the wall between understanding human and animal relationship will not make the study of sociology irrelevant; rather it will focus on bringing a forefront of global academic push for the purpose of ensuring the future that consists of all life on Earth. Therefore, it is essential that the social largest focus on putting the attention to animals and lending their expertise in the process of addressing some of the foremost social problems that takes place in the society of our time. These include the immense suffering that is undergone by the animal population and the closely related destruction that takes place within the natural environment (Leuven, 2021). These efforts will be benefited by all the animals and humans as well.


After reaching unique and useful conclusions about the different ways in which animals and human beings are interconnected and the significance of animals to wider social systems, these works have been able to demonstrate that using sociological method and concept for the purpose of studying animal is not only possible but is also greatly beneficial to the understanding human-animal relationships. As a concluding point, it can be stated that if society is willing to reach a state of harmony with nature where the human beings have a better understanding of the significance of animals and respect them in their life, a radical cultural change will take place. There is no other way where these aspects can be unfolded with the help of refinement of the understanding of the world in which human beings and animals are a part of. It can be said that sociology is one of the major aspects that focuses on building knowledge that has been proven useful in most of the challenging established attitudes towards animals on the grounds of academics. Animals should be accepted into the social domain and it can be stated that the animals are a part of the social domain and also are well evident due that they have the ability of experiencing the world in a meaningful way and can help in enriching society in the process of interaction that takes place with the humans.


Burningham, K., (2021). WHAT IS SOCIOLOGICAL ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT?. An Introduction to Sociology, p.37.

Carter, B. and Charles, N., (2018). The animal challenge to sociology. European Journal of Social Theory, 21(1), pp.79-97.

Cudworth, E., (2016). A sociology for other animals: Analysis, advocacy, intervention. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy.

Cudworth, E., 2015. Killing animals: Sociology, species relations and institutionalized violence. The Sociological Review, 63(1), pp.1-18.

DeMello, M., (2021). Animals and society. In Animals and Society. Columbia University Press.

Grauerholz, L., Weinzimmer, J., Kidder, E.N. and Owens Duffy, N., (2020). Teaching about Animals: Incorporating Nonhuman Animals into Sociology Classrooms. Teaching Sociology, 48(2), pp.120-139.

Leuven, J., (2021). Comment: The Current State of Nonhuman Animal Agency. In Animals in Our Midst: The Challenges of Co-existing with Animals in the Anthropocene (pp. 155-159). Springer, Cham.

Machalek, R. and Martin, M.W., (2020). Evolution, biology, and society: A conversation for the 21st-century sociology classroom. Teaching Sociology, 38(1), pp.35-45.

Mattes, S., Vincent, A. and Whitley, C.T., (2021). Emerging with Oddkin: Interdisciplinarity in the Animal Turn. Society & Animals, 29(7), pp.733-761.

McCormack, M., Anderson, E., Jamie, K. and David, M., 2018. Discovering sociology. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Taylor, N. and Sutton, Z., (2018). For an emancipatory animal sociology. Journal of Sociology, 54(4), pp.467-487.

Velasco, J.C., (2021). Sociology and Animal Studies: Human Responses to Animal Loss in Times of Disaster. Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities, 13(3).

Wrenn, C.L., (2015). Rationality and Nonhuman Animal Rights. In A Rational Approach to Animal Rights (pp. 1-24). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

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