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Animals in Society (SO9A5)

Have you ever wondered why some people eat horses and others don’t? Do you think that animal experimentation is important to develop life-saving new medicines? Do you think that pet animals are family members? And do you believe that the British are a nation of animal lovers?

In this module we explore questions such as this – questions about our relationships with other animals, the way we differentiate between humans and animals and between different categories of animal, and the symbolic significance of animals.

We explore the place of animals in society and culture and how this varies cross-culturally and over time. We consider the significance of animals to social development and look at the moral and philosophical underpinnings of our relationship with animals. We challenge sociology’s focus on the human and explore whether post-humanism can help us think more constructively about how we relate to the other living creatures on this planet.

You will develop knowledge of these topics through reading but also by undertaking your own research. You will explore the place of animals in people’s lives by carrying out interviews and using images to prompt reflection. Through interviewing people about the way they relate to animals and/or photographing humans and other animals, you will gain experience of different research methods.

Animals in Society

Module Director:

Nickie Charles


This module is worth 20 CATS.