(Un)Stable Relations: Horses, Humans and Social Agency  book cover
1st Edition

(Un)Stable Relations: Horses, Humans and Social Agency

ISBN 9780367874506
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
174 Pages

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Book Description

This original and insightful book explores how horses can be considered as social actors within shared interspecies networks. It examines what we know about how horses understand us and how we perceive them, as well as the implications of actively recognising other animals as actors within shared social lives. This book explores how interspecies relationships work, using a variety of examples to demonstrate how horses and people build social lives. Considering horses as social actors presents new possibilities for improving the quality of animal lives, the human condition and human-horse relations.

Table of Contents




Part One: Introducing Horse-Human Relationships

Chapter One: Equine co-travellers

Chapter Two: Animals as social actors: Relations, action and agency

Part Two: Thinking Horses: How Humans Set the Context

Chapter Three: Natural Horses

Chapter Four: Symbolic Horses

Chapter Five: Equestrian Cultures

Part Three: Meeting Horses: Moving Together

Chapter Six: Choreographies

Chapter Seven: Moving with Motive

Part Four: Acting on Equine Agency

Chapter Eight: Agency Matters

Chapter Nine: Agency, Action and Horses: Unstable Relations


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Lynda Birke is Visiting Professor in Biological Sciences at the University of Chester, UK. From a background in natural sciences (specialising in ethology), she later focused more on interdisciplinary research in feminist studies and human-animal studies. But more importantly, horses have shaped her life, and it was inevitable that she would eventually figure out a way to do research that included them. Lynda has been involved with equines all her life, from Pony Club, through show jumping and three-day eventing, as well as carriage driving. Her current jumping partners are two feisty mares, Dalusha and Doretha, and she lives with three equally feisty dogs - and her partner - in rural Shropshire.

Kirrilly Thompson is an Associate Professor at Central Queensland University’s Appleton Institute in Adelaide. She is a galloping cultural anthropologist interested in formalising Equestrian Social Science. Her research spans the risk perceptions and behaviours of equestrians, including the potential of human attachments to horses to promote safety and wellbeing. Kirrilly has been training, teaching and competing in pony club, showing and dressage since she was a teenager. She is the human of Angel dog, Chelsea horse, Lavazza horse and Mouse horse.