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'Biosensors in Fluffy Coats': Interspecies Relationships and Knowledge Production at the Nexus of Dog-Training and Scientific Research

Holland, Katrina; (2019) 'Biosensors in Fluffy Coats': Interspecies Relationships and Knowledge Production at the Nexus of Dog-Training and Scientific Research. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores human–dog relations and knowledge production at the nexus of dogtraining and scientific research, when dogs are trained to detect the odour of human disease via biological samples. Based on twelve months of fieldwork at two dog-training and research organisations, in the UK and USA, this thesis explores the practices through which bio-detection dogs are produced and how knowledge is produced about, and with, them. Whilst a growing body of scholarship exists across and beyond the social sciences, on both human–animal relations and the role of animals in laboratory practices, the relatively recent emergence of research practices involving bio-detection dogs illustrates a novel mode of incorporating animals into scientific practice that has, until now, evaded theoretical analysis. By focusing on this practice, this thesis contributes original insights to the literature regarding both multispecies relationships and science studies. Consistent with the intellectual commitment of multispecies ethnographers to bring nonhuman beings into the ethnographic foreground, the analysis presented in this thesis pays attention not only to the dog-trainers’ perceptions of the dogs, nor solely to what the dogs might be (i.e., as a species) but also to what the dogs are observed as doing themselves. Developing an analysis of how interconnectedness between human and dog is shaped among my informants, this thesis explores how the boundary between human and animal, that is often assumed to be rigid in sites of scientific practice, is called into question through the engagements between humans and dogs in the realm of bio-detection. The notion of ‘response-ability’ (Haraway 2008) emerges as an important analytic for understanding the practices and processes of bio-detection dog-training and research, as the capacity of both partners to respond and be affected by the other is revealed to be fundamental to both the training and research practices.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: 'Biosensors in Fluffy Coats': Interspecies Relationships and Knowledge Production at the Nexus of Dog-Training and Scientific Research
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071350
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