1st Edition

Animal Enthusiasms Life Beyond Cage and Leash in Rural Pakistan

By Muhammad A. Kavesh Copyright 2021
    184 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    184 Pages 39 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Animal Enthusiasms explores how human–animal relationships are conceived, developed, and carried out in rural Pakistani Muslim society through an examination of practices such as pigeon flying, cockfighting, and dogfighting.

    Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork carried between 2008 and 2018 in rural South Punjab, the book examines the crucial cultural concept of shauq (enthusiasm) and provides critical insight into changing ways of life in contemporary Pakistan. It tracks the relationships between men mediated by non-human animals and discusses how such relationships in rural areas are coded in complex ways. The chapters draw on debates around transformations of animal activities over time, the changing forms of human–animal intimacy and their impact on familial relationships, and rural Punjabi values attached to the performance of masculine honour.

    The book will be of interest to scholars of anthropology, multi-species ethnography, gender and masculinity studies, and South Asian studies.

    Introduction;  1. Decolonising Passions;  2. Living with Pigeons: Rooftop Intimacies;  3. The Seduction of Cockfighting: Forbidden Dangers;  4. The Spectacle of Dogfighting: Amplified Masculinity;  5. A Life with Shauqeen: Familial Relations in a Multi-Species Household;  6. Threats to Genuine ShauqEpilogue: Life Beyond Cage and Leash


    Muhammad A. Kavesh is affiliated with the School of Culture, History, and Language at the Australian National University in Canberra, where he received his PhD. He is a recipient of the Australian Anthropological Society’s Post-Doctoral Fellowship (2020).

    'Animal Enthusiasms is truly remarkable work of ethnographic scholarship. With subtle genius and profound empathy Kavesh invites us into a world of tremendous passion, intimate affection and the harsh contrasts that animate the human/non-human animal interface in rural Pakistan. In a world that comes alive in the passion of shauk we gain deep appreciation for how and why pigeons, dogs and other animals are implicated in a poetics of passion that challenges the conceit of exclusive humanism and anthropocentric conceptions of sociality.'

    ~Joseph Alter, University of Pittsburgh, United States of America