Postmodern Breed: the Crisis of Breed as a Master Narrative of the Dog World

In: Animals and Their People

Abstract

The article defines the “discourse of animal breed” and analyzes the recent crisis of this discourse in the dog world through a theoretical framework that emerged to discuss “the crisis of race” (using Paul Gilroy’s term from Against Race). By providing a list of examples, the article proves that the discourse of dog breed has recently come under increased scrutiny and that, in response, we are witnessing a major paradigm shift in how breeders and registries are conceptualizing their own activities: increasingly less as preserving blood purity and increasingly more as ensuring population diversity and genetic health. The paper then provides examples of practices carried out in the contemporary dog world (including practices of dog breeding and dog training) to show how these new practices differ from those rooted in the old discourse of breed.

Animals and Their People

Connecting East and West in Cultural Animal Studies

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