Recent changes in the organizational culture of nonhuman animal sheltering, coupled with attitudes that are more progressive toward companion animals, have made shelters into resources rather than last resorts. Consequently, shelter workers need the "people skills" to communicate to a public that urgently needs accurate information about animal behavior and training. This poses a difficulty for workers drawn to working with animals but who find themselves working with people. Based on participant observation and informed by social psychology and the sociology of emotions, this study articulates three primary dimensions of shelter workers' interactions with clients: (a) Narrative Knowing, (b) Emotion Management, and (c) Deference. From the analysis of these dimensions, the paper then draws conclusions about the individual costs of shelter work and suggests practical steps that workers and animal care organizations could take to recognize and reduce these costs.
Leslie Irvine and Colter Ellis
This paper examines young people’s socialization into the doctrine known as “dominionism,” which justifies the use of animals in the service of human beings. Using qualitative research, it focuses on the 4-H youth livestock program, in which boys and girls raise cattle, pigs, goats, and sheep for slaughter. The analysis portrays 4-H as an apprenticeship in which children learn to do cognitive emotion work, use distancing mechanisms, and create a “redemption” narrative to cope with contradictory ethical and emotional experiences. Although this paper focuses on young people’s relationships with animals, and particularly with types of animals that have received little scholarly attention, the conclusions have implications for understanding the reproduction of inequalities, more generally. An understanding of the means through which people learn to justify the treatment of the animals known as “livestock” can shed light on the mechanisms involved in generic processes of inequality.