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The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness

3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  284 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The Companion Species Manifesto is about the implosion of nature and culture in the joint lives of dogs and people, who are bonded in "significant otherness." In all their historical complexity, Donna Haraway tells us, dogs matter. They are not just surrogates for theory, she says; they are not here just to think with. Neither are they just an alibi for other themes; dogs ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Prickly Paradigm Press
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With this manifesto, Haraway moves away from the figure of the cyborg (which made her famous) and toward the figure of the companion species--specifically, the dog. She attempts to do much the same thing with dogs that she did with cyborgs, saying:

"Cyborgs and companion species each bring together the human and non-human, the organic and technological, carbon and silicon, freedom and structure, history and myth, the rich and the poor, the state and the subject, diversity and depletion, modernity
James Payne
Donna Haraway loves dogs.
Christine Leja
Jul 03, 2012 Christine Leja rated it did not like it
I read this because I was once a research assistant for a project on the "Companion species" bond (which was never finished due to the death of the researcher). I have respect for some of Haraway's other work, but this piece was a frenetic jumble of half-formed ideas and gestures (and thus a manifesto?). I'm not sure who she imagines as her audience, besides herself. The history of certain dog breeds is told in monotonous detail while she skates over dense theory with a few sentences. This read ...more
(5/10) Okay, let's get this out of the way: I'm not a dog person. Hate 'em. But even putting that aside, I didn't really see the point to this book. Haraway wants to position the companion species as a kind of new model for humanity, and I think it's an idea worth looking at. But instead of doing that, Haraway spends most of the book simply reeling off facts about various dog breeds and training techniques. The value of this book is that it opens up a question that could help lead us to a more e ...more
Jen Hirt
Jun 16, 2015 Jen Hirt rated it really liked it
If you, like me, don't think of your dog as a "furbaby," and you also cannot conceive of seriously calling yourself a "dog mom" or "dog dad," and you happen to be able to comprehend critical theory from time to time without wanting to throw the work across the room, then read this book. Haraway says, and I admire her for it: "To regard a dog as a furry child, even metaphorically, demeans dogs and children --and sets up children to be bitten and dogs to be killed" (37). So few people actually say ...more
I enjoyed this read as it made me rethink relationships with my own dog. However, much of this read was not new as concepts of Kinship, Relationality, and Accountability between human and animals exists within Indigenous philosophies, theories, and epistemologies. While I realize that Haraway has reached these concepts from another perspective, i.e. via intersections of cyborgs, dogs, and othernesses (which I respect), her arguments and manifesto could be greatly enriched if she critically engag ...more
Dec 20, 2015 Erica rated it it was ok
Shelves: theory
It's especially hard to be disappointed by your idols. The sense of revelatory joy I felt after reading Haraway's Cyborg Manifesto left me desperate to read everything I could of hers. But where the Cyborg Manifesto succeeds, in deep, complex, critical engagement with her subject, this fails. Biased is perhaps the mildest way to put it. Haraway is bizarrely unable to examine her own perspective here, instead using her considerable intellect to justify her clearly pre-determined positions, positi ...more
Michelle Taylor
Haraway wrote her manifesto in the wake of early 2000s scientific research which posited that dogs and humans both played active roles in canine domestication. In it, she advocates awareness of our co-evolutionary histories with companion species and with dogs specifically. To demonstrate what it might look like to remember these histories, she documents the breed histories of the Great Pyrenees and the Australian Shepherd. These experimental case studies fall a bit flat, however, especially be ...more
Dec 19, 2008 sam rated it did not like it
Interesting book. It suffers from writing that at times approaches the panicked hyperventilated utterances of a creative twelve year old with a technical vocabulary
James Klagge
Nov 19, 2010 James Klagge rated it did not like it
Shelves: psychology
The early portions of this book are virtually unintelligible. The later portions are somewhat interesting.
Jan 07, 2012 Holly rated it liked it
half theoretical text, half a dog book. weird.
Michael Burnam-fink
Jan 10, 2016 Michael Burnam-fink rated it really liked it
Shelves: sts, 2015
Haraway is a titan of feminist studies of science and technology but did you also know that she's a crazy dog lady? The Companion Species Manifesto is a love letter to Canis familiaris in general, and Cayenne Pepper, an Australian Shepherd, in particular.

This brief volume is a sequel-parody of her famous Cyborg Manifesto (may we all write something so wildly interpreted), but focusing on dogginess, the love of dogs, the intense awareness and trust of human/dog agility competition, domesticity,
Mar 08, 2007 Katie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: theoryheads and other bestialists
I found her dogged punning in the first sections of the book annoying rather than playful, and then felt vindicated and pissy when it petered out in the second half. Then she won me back with her dorkily lengthy, mildy psychotic and undoubtably neurotic maxims on how to play a team sport with your pet. I found the theory for the most part pretty watery, though I really liked the way she made her point that inter- subjectivity doesn't supervene on equality. This was the only big fluffy dog among ...more
Justin Abraham
Jun 29, 2015 Justin Abraham rated it really liked it
Let alone the thinking, such a creative and funny writer who has written a book with perfect rhythm.

'reevaluating domestication and coevolution'
'kinship, training, obedience, the soul'
'ongoing alertness to otherness'
'breed respect in flesh'
'companion species amnesia'
'try to live other tropes, other metaplasms'
'creative grace of play'
& my fav. 'ontological choreography'
Mar 28, 2016 Daichi rated it it was ok
I just don't understand how Ruff Love is not compulsion. (Chapter Positive Bondage)
Mashes in references, overly complicated vocab and super long sentences. Some passages are just excruciating to read and cipher. Maybe just me.

Nothing new maybe (its dogs instead of cyborgs) but interesting I guess.
I just really dislike her style of writing.
Jules Levy
Jul 04, 2016 Jules Levy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: naturecultures
I gave this book 5 stars simply on the conceptual framework it offers to a wide range of human-.... Relationships. "In old-fashioned terms, The Companion Species Manifesto is a kinship claim, one made possible by the concrescence of prehensions of many actual occasions. Companion species rest on contingent foundations". Brilliant!
"My multi-species family is not about surrogacy and substitutes; we are trying to live other tropes, other metaplasms."
Jan 27, 2016 Mirthe rated it really liked it
Yes. Dogs are cyborgs, too.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 22, 2011 Emily rated it really liked it
I love inter-species communication and this concept of "significant otherness"--plus I've been really into dogs lately--so I enjoyed this, but found it unnecessarily academic. Or maybe i just haven't been reading enough theory lately and need to bulk up on brainpower...
Justiina Dahl
Apr 21, 2011 Justiina Dahl rated it really liked it
Leaving her old ally, the cyborg, in the sidelines Donna Haraway shows how the history of dogs includes all the same, if not more, of the possibilities of dualism-braking qualities in re-conceptualization of power structures.
Mar 06, 2010 Victor is currently reading it
From a dog lover's perspective, she explores the meaning of science, the training of dogs, and the meaning of relationships with other beings.

Damn, I lost this book somewhere.
Aug 12, 2007 Susan rated it it was ok

Strong start, weak finish: this should have been an afterword to the Cyborg Manifesto, upon which it usefully expands.
Mar 07, 2012 Linde added it
Shelves: university
ABANDONED. Gave up after 25 pages. It is very dense prose - too much so for my liking.
Laurel Braitman
Sep 27, 2007 Laurel Braitman rated it it was amazing
Not for the faint of heart. Or the weak or tired. But worth it.
Apr 12, 2008 Amy marked it as to-read
This be my next new "currently reading."
Megan C
Megan C rated it it was amazing
Aug 28, 2016
Oscar marked it as to-read
Aug 28, 2016
Marina Rollman
Marina Rollman marked it as to-read
Aug 27, 2016
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Donna Jeanne Haraway is the chair of the History of Consciousness program at the University of California Santa Cruz. She writes and lectures on techno-science and feminist theory. Haraway is famous for her 1991 essay A Cyborg Manifesto .
More about Donna J. Haraway...

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