HUMANS AND DOGS have a long, wonderful and sometimes problematic association. At a personal level, dogs have been integral to our lives, and our parents’ lives, for as long as the two of us can remember. As sociologists, we also recognize that dogs are important at the macro level. Here, we introduce a selection of early sociological arguments about dogs and their social relationships with humankind. Our interest in developing this book began when we encountered the delightful essays on dogs by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Annie Marion MacLean — two insightful Anglo-American sociologists who present opposing sympathies regarding the canine world. Admirers and detractors of dogs reflect important sensibilities within Anglo-American society. This book is a smorgasbord of sociological standpoints, all written by some of sociology’s most perceptive practitioners, from 1865 to 1934. We are delighted with the opportunity to make these essays more widely available. As these readings document, dogs are intrinsically social beings. Likewise, our observations of dogs, our interactions with dogs, and our writings about dogs are markedly social phenomena. Dogs are not only part of our social world, they also inform our sociological imagination at both micro and macro levels.
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