I'm a sociologist in human animal relations at Goldsmiths, University of London, currently on an ESRC (SeNSS) postdoctoral fellowship entitled Unknowing Animals: Critical Anthropomorphism in theory, method and practice. The purpose of this Fellowship is to explore, through publications, a one-act play, and a three-day workshop in multi-species ethnography, the sociological significance of emerging forms of professional, "critically anthropomorphic" expertise, based on my doctoral research in sites of human-animal research and interaction.
Critical anthropomorphism is an approach which permits qualitative, 'common-sense' interpretations of animals, whilst placing critical checks on those interpretations through certain techniques. This is an increasingly popular methodological idea in sociology (eg Irvine, 2004). However, in a unique contribution to the field, the products of this Fellowship will explore the theoretical and methodological tensions inherent in critical anthropomorphism's actual practice.