Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier, dit le renard. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé.
Le Petit Prince, chap. 21

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Meaning and Place of Feral Cats in the Workplace

Thompson, C. 2012. The Contested Meaning and Place of Feral Cats in the Workplace. Journal for Critical Animal Studies,10 (4): 78-108.

This research is grounded in three years of fieldwork with Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) groups on university campuses and participation in a consortium of feral cat managers located in a large metropolitan area in the United States. TNR groups provide care and humane management of feral cats with the goals of reducing the overall number of stray and unhealthy cats in the wild and allowing healthy and non-reproductive cats to resume their territorial colonization of campus spaces. The analysis communicates the experiences and perspectives of feral cat caretakers as they struggle to preserve and create space for cats on their university and college campuses. Narratives and communications from and between feral cat caretakers illuminate how they resist existing definitions and arrangements of power and endeavor individually and collectively to manage their identities and activities within the workplace. The analysis shows that by extending the locus of care of non-human animals into the workplace setting feral caretaker actions break with normal practice by bringing non-human animals into the moral landscape of the campus and treating campus workplaces as ecologically integrated urban environments where feral cats and other animals are legitimate and appropriate coresidents. Their actions are seen as transgressing the conventional uses of place and space and results in stigmatization from three sources: the perceived misuse of the physical space at work, being out of order in ideological or normative space, and guilt by association or what Goffman (1964) calls tribal stigmatization.

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