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(Un)Regulated Relations: An Ethnographic Perspective of Dog Ownership on Isla Mujeres, Mexico

By Paloma White

Category Journal Articles

This paper examines the regulation and management of dogs in the Mexican municipality of Isla Mujeres. It shows how dogs, on Isla Mujeres, are managed under a neoliberal framework of a decentralized government which relies on the personal responsibility of citizens and the outsourcing of essential services to non-government and private organizations. In so doing, this paper demonstrates some of the political and organizational contexts within which human-dog relationships are situated. In particular, it analyzes the ways that humans relate to dogs within a regulatory and socio-political framework. This paper is based on a six-week period of ethnographic research, primarily situated within an international non-government animal rescue organization. From this vantage point, this paper shows how neoliberal approaches to dog management within the municipality creates tension between personal and governmental responsibilities and fosters reliance on the third sector to provide animal welfare and wellbeing services. Within this network of distinctly human relationships, the wellbeing of animals is obscured, leading to a series of animal welfare crises within the municipality.

Publication Title Anthrozoƶs
Volume 31
Issue 5
Pages 615-625
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.1080/08927936.2018.1505343
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animals
  2. Dogs
  3. Human-animal interactions
  4. Mexico
  5. regulations