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The Precarity of Pitbull-type Dog Life: A Case Study of Contested Companionship in Montréal, Quebec


The Precarity of Pitbull-type Dog Life: A Case Study of Contested Companionship in Montréal, Quebec

Eccles, Stephanie Mary Rose (2018) The Precarity of Pitbull-type Dog Life: A Case Study of Contested Companionship in Montréal, Quebec. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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In June 2016, Christiane Vadnais was killed by her neighbour’s neglected dog, Lucifer. Immediately following the incident the City of Montréal ushered in Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) that enlivened an already conflicted debate surrounding pitbull-type dogs. In this thesis I track BSL as a discourse – that is, as it stems from and shapes broader, shifting discursive constructions of pitbull-type dogs – and as it unfolds on-the-ground in Montréal, with profound effects for the lives of those dogs and their guardians. My theoretical approach draws from critical animal geography, legal geography, and extinction studies to approach BSL as an example of how humans discursively construct and materially affect nonhuman animals through processes of domination. My methodological approach is informed by multispecies ethnography and intimate feminist geographies; as such, it is mutually committed to including nonhuman animals as participants and to pushing the boundaries of conventional methodologies, such as by including personal experience. The thesis is broken into two contextual and two analytical chapters. First, I contribute to the ongoing development of multispecies ethnography by detailing my methodological approach and practices. Following this, I situate BSL in the historiography of pitbull-type dogs. In chapters 3 and 4 I explore both the effects and affects of BSL by tracing the law’s performativity. First, I argue BSL is an example of spatial injustice as it denies pitbull-type dogs – and, if applicable, their guardians – access to space. Second, I suggest BSL is a dealer of death through three modes: the physical death (killing), the death of future generations (sterilization), and the death of a relationship (contested companionship) for pitbull-type dogs. The underlying goal of this research project is to re-story pitbull-type dogs as worthy of adoration, love and life.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Geography, Planning and Environment
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Eccles, Stephanie Mary Rose
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M. Sc.
Program:Geography, Urban & Environmental Studies
Date:August 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Collard, Rosemary
ID Code:984265
Deposited By: Stephanie Eccles
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 16:53
Last Modified:16 Nov 2018 16:53
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