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The power and promulgation of the claimed links between human and animal abuse

Piper, Heather and Cordingley, Debbie (2009) The power and promulgation of the claimed links between human and animal abuse. Power and education, 1 (3). pp. 345-355. ISSN 1757-7438

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Abstract

In this article the authors identify and discuss what they consider to be some of the underlying arguments and approaches currently promulgated in teaching and training in relation to abuse. Their focus is the assumption that all violence is linked, especially the belief that those who harm animals will harm people. This under-theorised but overtly applied phenomenon, referred to as ‘the links’, is increasingly evident on both sides of the Atlantic where it is supported and promoted by powerful non-governmental organisations. The authors draw attention to current teaching (and practice) in this area, which they consider to be flawed as well as unethical and unjust. They critique both the cycles of abuse models of the past and more recent manifestations – for example, retrospective constructions of profiles of ‘abusers’, dubious professional practice, and infringements of human rights purportedly supported by ‘science’. While their argument is initially theoretical, they draw on a focused study of a conference they both attended, which provided the opportunity for a limited linguistic and symbolic analysis. This illustrates the way in which the links idea is spread, supported by the institutional and moral power of significant agencies and organisations that are arguably operating as a ‘community of practice’.

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