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What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions?$
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Vinciane Despret

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780816692378

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816692378.001.0001

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For Work

For Work

Why do we say that cows don’t do anything?

Chapter:
(p.177) W For Work
Source:
What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions?
Author(s):

Vinciane Despret

, Brett Buchanan
Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press
DOI:10.5749/minnesota/9780816692378.003.0023

This chapter argues that animals may be considered collaborative workers with humans insofar as they are not considered simply victims of exploitation. The author references sociologist Jocelyn Porcher’s work on cow behaviour to observe that cows and dogs actively invest in and observe rules and social norms that facilitate their smooth participation in agricultural production. From polite gestures and grooming rituals to returning fetched objects just shy of a human’s reach to establish the limits of authority, animals recognize the boundaries and bonds they share with their humans under structures of cohabitation and labour.

Keywords:   work, invisible work, interspecies collaboration, farming, service animals, Jocelyn Porcher, recognition, authority

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