This paper uses a governmentality approach to examine the political history of human–canine relationships in the People’s Republic of China, focusing on the evolution of household dog regulations in Beijing. In doing so, it ties the micropolitics of human–canine relations to transformations in political, economic, and social governance and ways of thinking about and acting on the interactions between human and nonhuman animal species. An examination of successive waves of government regulations reveals a shift from top-down authoritarian approaches to governance toward a greater recognition of (circumscribed) individual responsibility and self-governance, which is emerging under the organizing framework of “social credit.” This government-managed rearrangement is contributing to the rise of new understandings of human–canine interactions as co-constitutive relationships based in citizenship rights and obligations.
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