Civilised by beasts

Author: Juliana Adelman

This book is a history of nineteenth-century Dublin through human–animal relationships. The book offers a unique perspective on ordinary life in the Irish metropolis during a century of significant change and reform. The book argues that the exploitation of animals formed a key component of urban change, from municipal reform to class formation to the expansion of public health and policing. The book uses a social history approach but draws on a range of new and underused sources including archives of the humane society and the Zoological Society, popular songs, visual ephemera and diaries. The book moves chronologically from 1830 to 1900 with each chapter focused on specific animals and their relationship to urban changes. The first chapter examines the impact of Catholic emancipation and rising Catholic nationalism on the Zoological Society and the humane movement. The second chapter looks at how the Great Famine drove reformers to try to clearly separate the urban poor from animals. The third chapter considers the impact of the expanding cattle trade on the geography, infrastructure and living conditions of the city. The fourth chapter looks at how middle-class ideas about the control of animals entered the legal code and changed where and how pigs and dogs were kept in the city. The fifth and final chapter compares ideas of the city as modern or declining and how contrasting visions were associated with particular animals. The book will interest anyone fascinated by the history of cities, the history of Dublin or the history of Ireland.

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