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Dog at My Feet: A Moment of Identity Construction within Dissertation Acknowledgements

By R. Billany

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Abstract

Human-animal studies (HAS) is a legitimate and multidisciplinary academic endeavor. In the last three decades, there has been a proliferation of articles revealing multiple ways of knowing about the human-animal relationship. This paper, informed by social psychological theories, turns the mirror upon new researchers as they emerge as professional selves into academia. Post-graduate students engage multiple and sometimes contradicting identities throughout their candidatures. The unit of analysis is the dissertation acknowledgement (DA) at both a structural and functional level. The DAS have recently become objects of serious empirical investigation as linguistic choice promotes a situated academic, cultural, and social identity in a moment of time. This paper examines the generic structure and purpose of 104 DAS, with a particular focus on the student-writer's identity with relationship to nonhuman animals in their lives. Fourteen sub-themes are subsumed into thanking, reflecting, and announcing moves. A case is made that the study of DAS is a potentially fecund research area for a unique moment of identity construction.

Publication Title Society & Animals
Volume 22
Issue 3
Pages 221-240
ISBN/ISSN 1063-1119
DOI 10.1163/15685306-12341325
Language English
Author Address [Billany, Ruth] Charles Darwin Univ, Sch Psychol & Clin Sci, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia. [Billany, Ruth] Flinders Univ NT, Sch Med, Casuarina, NT, Australia.Billany, R (reprint author), Charles Darwin Univ, Sch Psychol & Clin Sci, Darwin, NT 0909, Australia.ruth.billany@cdu.edu.au
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  1. gratitude
  2. Human-animal relationships
  3. identity
  4. peer-reviewed
  5. satisfaction
  6. Theories
  7. validation
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  1. peer-reviewed