This blog will comprise a collection of ephemera, mess and miscellaneous artifacts reflecting on the writer's life.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I once gave a talk for this lot on pet-keeping as a social practice and literacy practices in the home.
This was because I found that when I went into homes, and did ethnography, pets were highly salient.
People wrote about their pets and talked about them and they were embedded in their literacy practices.
People had pet spiders, budgies, dogs, frogs (they mummifed these sometimes) chickens (they chased those) and fish.
I even had a fish named after me, which pleased me very much.
But with this project, all I hear about from the children are rabbits.
I am typing up loads of rabbit data at the moment.
Often they die, which is sad.
The the sawdust goes off to someone else.
people take photos of their rabbits and put them on their books and also they use their experience of pet keeping to inform their work.
The best one is someone whose cousin kept two pet cobras in a cage.
He used that to inform his very good clay image of a cobra.
Pet keeping is a very useful activity and now I must RUSH and feed our fish.

This is Popcorn the hamster.


Joolz said...

Molly and Popcorn look very sweet. I feel a bit inadequate on the pets front as although we have had them in the past I have always hated having wee beasties in the house.
I am glad they are gone. They used to elicit specialised language from me.
The equipment ois also very naff (cages; bottles etc) It would be better if the equipment were less tacky and more sleek in keeping with my techy life style.

I wonder if the nuances and associations of pet keeping are of interest to you DrKate. How do they expand or inhibit particular life style choices? I think they tie you to the home and to domesticity in ways I dislike.

Kate said...

Yes but there are subversive elements.
Think of the dying rabbits.
(in my data the rabbits often died).
I will not talk abut dying hamsters as this might offend some readers.

guy said...

I'm afraid to do gardening these days because only just beneath the surface of our small plot is really a pet cemetery. Is it something about a maturing family, I wonder? Certainly a trained expert might have a field day carbon-dating the bones of various rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, cats and so on - but not the fish (they were wrapped in toilet paper and flushed away). Similalrly mice were rather unceremoniously discarded in the bin. There used to be one or two improvised grave markers, but sadly they too have become lost amongst the encroaching weeds.