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

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  625 ratings  ·  43 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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James Payne
Donna Haraway loves dogs.
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
Jen Hirt
Jun 16, 2015 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
Christine Leja
Jul 03, 2012 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
Laura Peña
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
-i love dogs so easier to get thru for me than theory usually is

-certain tidbits i really liked--like the part about unconditional love bc I'm currently on a bender about how i hate the narrative of love being easy etc

-i facetimed my dog yesterday and i was reading cyborg manifesto then today read companion species and its funny bc u could see my phone as my companion or me+phone as a cyborg and i was talking to my dog as my cyborg self

-overall it seemed a little meandery tho. i guess i like th
Michael Burnam-Fink
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, sts
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,
Jan 06, 2012 rated it liked it
half theoretical, half a dog lover.
Gina Lyle
May 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Haraway invites us to look at Dogland with her, with a manifesto that isn’t quite clear in its intentions. With initial discussion relying on an awareness of Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto and the use of off-putting terminology, the manifesto’s focus is scatty. Key issues are skirted over in a few sentences, then full pages are dedicated to descriptions of particular breeds, and discussions of the artistry and value of agility training.

I disagree with a lot of what Haraway has written. If ‘dogs wit
Mar 07, 2017 added it
Shelves: ecology
Harraway undergoes an exploration of Being with – Being with dogs as companion species. Central to this text is an emphasis on the ability to tell the stories of ourselves and our companion species, to be honest about where we came from, and how we got to where we are now, so that we might be able to participate in conversations about how to go forward. By mapping the breeding stories of Great Pyrenees, Australian Shepherds and Puerto Rica's Satos in the second half of the book, we can understan ...more
Gabriella Haus Zimmer
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sociology
This is probably the first 'academic' book I have read from beginning to end, and for a reason. If there is anything I take from this read is to approach human-animal interactions from a levelled point to avoid the mistakes of those first anthropologists that viewed their subjects 'from above'. It has left me pondering about the differences between nature and culture, but also with a deep respect for the history of all animals and the differences between them. Definitely this is a relationship w ...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
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
Jonna Higgins-Freese
Summary: duh and huh. Dogs are our kin. Duh. "one made possible by the concrescence of prehensions of many actual occasions." Huh?

Dogs and humans have shaped and formed each other, carry records of our interactions in their genomes. Uh huh.

And yet, "[Dogs] are not a projection, nor the realization of an intention, nor the telos of anything. They are dogs, i.e., a species in obligatory, constitutive, historical, protean relationship with human beings. The relationship is not especially nice; it i
Dec 14, 2008 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 rated it did not like it
Shelves: psychology
The early portions of this book are virtually unintelligible. The later portions are somewhat interesting.
Jul 01, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2015-16

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The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People and Significant Otherness - Donna Haraway (March Book Club)
This is a book about dogs. But, I swear it relates to CTEP. Let me explain. Donna Haraway is best known for her essay "The Cyborg Manifesto," a feminist text that offers a new perspective on intersectionality by arguing that humankind's historic reliance on technology plays an integral role in the shaping
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Suggests 'companion species' as an alternative to the cyborg for thinking about how we humans coevolve with technology, and talks at length about dogs to illustrate the complexities of such an approach. I like dogs so I enjoyed this, but Haraway could have done more to help readers connect her dog stories to larger issues. In the other hand that might be too much to ask from a 100 page manifesto.
Jun 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Definitely a 3.5. As others had mentioned, I would've loved Haraway to reach the level of depth found in her previous works, and bouncing from Primate Visions right to this was a stark transition. However, this was an easy read that provided a lot of critical detail and a plethora of perspectives on multi-species futures from which I can now see the world from, for that I am pleased. All in all: we are in a mutual bond and at the same time a mutual creation.

Alisa Cupcakeland
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
I really liked the chapter of Love Stories, but that's it. As a manifesto it is not a very easy read, yet for a complex read, it does not feel too grounded on theory. I think there were some good ideas, but they were executed poorly. Also, she frequently jumps from one thing to another without fully developing certain topics. As my first time reading Donna Haraway I'm quite disappointed.
Aug 20, 2020 added it
Read for SOC 335: Themes in Contemporary Social Theory. This was weird. A little boring and a little frenzic at the same time. Looking forward to learning more about it though. A lot of interesting things that I don't quite understand just yet.
Jade Walters
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One to read and re-read. Offers the only theory of i have yet to truly identify with.
Feral Academic
Useful little book as what it says it is - a Manifesto. it's by no means conclusive or exhaustive, but it doesn't claim to be. it is thoughtful, creative, and affectionate, and I quite enjoyed it.
Hannah Blair
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
jesus christ she'S so SMART
Dec 20, 2015 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
Mar 08, 2007 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
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
Fascinating personal and genre-defying. Even as a manifesto it seems not quite to fit. What it is, though, is a beautiful and fully committed exploration of what it means to be part of an emergent human-nonhuman dyad with all its complexities and historical-embeddedness. Haraway is focusing on dogs, and mostly on particular types of dogs, but that fits with her stated situation. (For me, naturally, it provided interesting questions/similarities/contrasts with my own relations with my three cats, ...more
Justin Abraham
Jun 28, 2015 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 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.
J Levy
Jul 04, 2016 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!
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Donna J. Haraway is an American Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department and Feminist Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, United States. She is a prominent scholar in the field of science and technology studies, described in the early 1990s as a "feminist, rather loosely a postmodernist". Haraway is the author of numerous foundational books and essay ...more

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