Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

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

Rate this book
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 are fleshly material-semiotic presences in the body of technoscience. They are here to live with. Partners in the crime of human evolution, they are in the garden from the get-go, wily as Coyote. This pamphlet is Haraway's answer to her own Cyborg Manifesto , where the slogan for living on the edge of global war has to be not just "cyborgs for earthly survival" but also, in a more doggish idiom, "shut up and train."

100 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2003

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Donna J. Haraway

51 books905 followers
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 essays that bring together questions of science and feminism, such as "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century" (1985) and "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective". Additionally, for her contributions to the intersection of information technology and feminist theory, Haraway is widely cited in works related to Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Her Situated Knowledges and Cyborg Manifesto publications in particular, have sparked discussion within the HCI community regarding framing the positionality from which research and systems are designed. She is also a leading scholar in contemporary ecofeminism, associated with post-humanism and new materialism movements. Her work criticizes anthropocentrism, emphasizes the self-organizing powers of nonhuman processes, and explores dissonant relations between those processes and cultural practices, rethinking sources of ethics.

Haraway has taught Women's Studies and the History of Science at the University of Hawaii and Johns Hopkins University. Haraway's works have contributed to the study of both human-machine and human-animal relations. Her works have sparked debate in primatology, philosophy, and developmental biology. Haraway participated in a collaborative exchange with the feminist theorist Lynn Randolph from 1990 to 1996. Their engagement with specific ideas relating to feminism, technoscience, political consciousness, and other social issues, formed the images and narrative of Haraway's book Modest_Witness for which she received the Society for Social Studies of Science's (4S) Ludwik Fleck Prize in 1999. In 2000, Haraway was awarded the Society for Social Studies of Science's John Desmond Bernal Prize for her distinguished contributions to the field of science and technology studies. Haraway serves on the advisory board for numerous academic journals, including differences, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Contemporary Women's Writing, and Environmental Humanities.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
221 (25%)
4 stars
305 (34%)
3 stars
237 (26%)
2 stars
85 (9%)
1 star
35 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 80 reviews
July 3, 2012
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 like notes for a future project, and she admits as much near the end. But where does that leave the reader? Why not just give the reader your reading list (I can say, for example, that reading Vickie Hearne and Donald McCaig directly has more to offer). The connections she makes don't amount to much besides asking us to replace cyborgs with dogs.

Haraway lacks any kind of self-reflection here that does not celebrate her own background, practices, and critical position. One small, glaring example: she sees herself as "scorned" by Science because of her Catholic upbringing (rather than her lack of scientific training, which definitely would mark anyone with such a love of biology as an outsider). But this odd, opportunistic allegiance to "the Church" allows her to situate herself as a wronged outsider rather than part of a system that did plenty of "Scorning" of its own (Galileo?). And, Catholicism is hardly the first entity to put forward the "word made flesh" connection she wants to claim.

Likewise, Haraway ignores the less PC aspects of the "dog breed club," which is celebrated here. By overlooking the cost of pedigree dogs or the ethics of inbreeding, she's able to maintain a fantasy of a connection to indigenous cultures (yes, she really goes there) through participating in agility competitions with a purebred dog. In her section on "Sato" dogs from Puerto Rico, she collapses feral dogs and "mutts," which are two entirely different issues: genetically, ethically, and socially. It's almost as if she wanted to find the worst possible community of non purebred dogs to juxtapose with the heroic work of breeders.

In some ways, I guess I'm Haraway's ideal audience: I've read many of her sources, known people who do agility and herding work, and am pretty well read in terms of feminist theory. But this little volume just irritated me.

Profile Image for Christy.
Author 5 books401 followers
October 27, 2008
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 and postmodernity, and nature and culture in unexpected ways" (3).

Unfortunately, Haraway's new manifesto lacks the depth and complexity of her mid-1980s manifesto. Although she claims that the story of the relationship between dogs and humans, companion species, is one "of biopower and biosociality, as well as of technoscience," she does little to illustrate this fact's greater significance for either species.

She does, however, present a valuable counterbalance to common elements among some branches of animal rights and ecocritical movements, including the use of animals as metaphor, the habit of anthropomorphizing animals, and the tendency to assign rights to animals on the same basis that we assign rights to humans. She says, first,

"Dogs, in their historical complexity, matter here. Dogs are not an alibi for other themes; dogs are fleshly material-semiotic presences in the body of technoscience. Dogs are not surrogates for theory; they are not here just to think with. They are here to live with" (5).

In other words, dogs are not mere metaphor; they carry weight and meaning of their own. Regarding the other tendencies, Haraway argues that we must remain "alert to the fact that somebody is at home in the animals [we] work with" (50) but that the way to do this is not through "the kind of literalist anthropomorphism that sees furry humans in animal bodies and measures their worth in scales of similarity to the rights-bearing, humanist subjects of Western philosophy and political theory" (51). Following the ideas of Vicki Hearne, Haraway endorses the idea that "dogs obtain 'rights' in specific humans. In relationship, dogs and humans construct 'rights' in each other, such as the right to demand respect, attention, and response" (53).

In these ways, Haraway's manifesto provides interesting ways of thinking through companion species relationships, but it falls short of the theoretical rigor I had hoped for based on her earlier work.
Profile Image for Laura.
511 reviews19 followers
March 30, 2018
-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 that its a good example of different species coexisting and interacting. But the human-dog relationship is definitely not gonna mirror any other kin relationship imo, plus there's the fact that she clearly fucking loves dogs. I'm about to read the cthulucene book for a class tho so maybe that will clarify more about Kin.

-how do i not think about furries and stuart little and the dolphin-sex man while reading this
-i am really surprised that disability didn't show up as a huge topic in either this or the cyborg manifesto. (there was some vague biotech stuff in CM i guess). sic fi cyborgs in movies are often in existence because they were "repaired" from an injury. service dogs are one of the first things i think of when human-dog relationships are discussed. Im just surprised since there is so much to unpack there

-the part about loving a "kind" of dog rather than individual dogs... my aunt got the same type of dog as the one she had had for several years and i was appalled. i will never do that because to me it feels like replacing a member of the family.

-idk i maybe need to think on this some more. i don't know a lot about dog training pedagogy aside from a youtube channel that convinced me about bite chains being a good idea. this book had opposite ideas on training dogs. when i think about humans I'm against prisons and shit & want restorative justice yet I was very convinced by the punishment framework from the youtube channel. hm. maybe i will have to read haraways "birth of the kennel" lecture.

-my dog didn't have a professional training situation and she is the sweetest most obedient thing and its just her personality and i don't give a shit if I'm anthropomorphizing her and seeing "love" in a way that isn't real/good

Profile Image for Mack.
212 reviews32 followers
January 24, 2022
not what i expected or wanted, not sure why i read it lol
Profile Image for Rob.
431 reviews29 followers
March 27, 2011
(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 ecological way of living, but it refuses to really answer that question. As it is, it's mostly just evidence that once you're an Academic Name you can get any pet project (sorry) published, even if it's just going on about your hobbies for a hundred pages.
Profile Image for Josh Medrano.
3 reviews
September 7, 2021
TL;DR: This type of book is a shining example of the self-absorbed verbal masturbation that drives reasonable people to resent academia.

For the record, I love dogs and enjoy a more academic, critical read every now and again. But while Haraway’s manifesto may be enough to pass muster in the academic world, its supposed desire to be “boots-on-the-ground” with the subject of dogs made something snap inside me (I think it was a blood vessel). Verbose claim after verbose claim, Haraway wears away at your patience, daring you to keep reading because this has to be going somewhere. Alas, you discover after turning the last page that this could’ve (and should’ve) been a Facebook update: “Love my dogs! Oh, if only we spoke the same language.” I guess she needed to reach her quota for uses of “semiotic,” “metaphysical,” and other vomit-inducing academic buzzwords. Again, it’s the “dogs are real, not vessels for theory” attitude she claims to have, followed by the exact opposite in execution, that bothers me most. If you don’t want people to hate academia any more than they already do, stop playing into all of its stereotypes to a tee. Now I think I’ll go watch Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 at half-speed just to cleanse my palate after recalling this book to mind.
Profile Image for Michael Burnam-Fink.
1,504 reviews229 followers
January 10, 2016
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, significant otherness, knotty prehensions and technobiopolitics. It is 100% Haraway, and totally weird and incomprehensible. Meditations on feminist approaches to science studies intertwine with descriptions of dog training methods, and the ongoing conflict between AKC 'purity' and working dog hybridity.

I can't say what I got out of this book. Honestly, I tend to take Haraway as performance art, an academic version of Lord Buckley. It's cool, well-researched, and very flashy, but almost impossible to follow.
Profile Image for Gab Hausi.
44 reviews
May 16, 2020
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 worth studying.
Profile Image for Rinin.
72 reviews1 follower
May 8, 2019
4 words:
Profile Image for Courtney Kruzan.
170 reviews
May 19, 2022
Did I understand everything Haraway said? Absolutely not. Did I understand enough to love this pamphlet? Absolutely yes.

Haraway uses dogs to theorize on significant otherness, and living/loving/bonding/being with significant otherness/companion species. The messy, bad, and beautiful past & present (on various scales; evolutionary, historical, and face-to-face) of a couple different dog breeds/types are discussed to highlight;

“Dog people need to learn how to inherit difficult histories in order to shape more vital multi-species futures.”

BEAUTIFUL, RESONATED WITH MINE OWN SOUL. And that applies to more than just dogs, it applies to any and all significant otherness we coexist with. Also, I learned a lot of cool stuff about dogs. Also, I definitely need to read Haraway’s Cyborg Manifesto because when she talks about cyborgs I have no idea how to conceptualize that, but it only gets brought up a bit in the beginning of the read.
Profile Image for Jacob.
109 reviews
March 7, 2017
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 understand the lived material condition of Being with human and dog which led to the development of these species as well as their breeding and adoption practices. In the training stories, Harraway at the ways in which the lived experience with dogs can take shape – through a training and relational mix of creation of both human and dog.
296 reviews2 followers
July 13, 2022
Con mucha historia sobre perros interesante solo a ratos entre medias, este Manifiesto es una obra capital de la filosofía contemporánea y los estudios multiespecies. Su mensaje de coevolución y coconstitución entre las distintas especies nos obliga a la humildad ontológica. Fente a cualquier historia que se centre solo en el ser humano en solitario es preciso insistir en el anudamiento constante en el que vivimos. Somos lo que somos gracias a especies como los perros, protagonistas indiscutibles de esta obra, los gatos, el trigo, el arroz o las bacterias de nuestra flora intestinal. Nuestra labor en la Tierra debe consistir en cultivar las otredades significativas de este enredo que es la vida orgánica y cuidar al otro humano y no humano, cercano y lejano en el proceso.
Profile Image for Leire L.
14 reviews1 follower
October 26, 2022
This book is a little more scatterbrained than the usual manifesto, and I think some of her linguistic choices make the book unnecessarily hard to read and, therefore, less accessible to people from a non-academic background.

Apart from that, I found myself agreeing with most of the points Haraway makes— Here's one in particular that I've wanted to articulate but couldn't find the right words:

'I resist being called the "mom" to my dogs because I fear infantilization of the adult canines and misidentification of the important fact that I wanted dogs, not babies. My multi-species family is not about surrogacy and substitutes; we are trying to live other tropes, other metaplasms.' pp.95-96
August 17, 2023
Worse than mid to say the least. Ms. Donna Hathaway certainly has something worth saying about treating animals or anything we work so closely with, like dogs and computer and robots and co workers, with lots of respect referees of species or category. Very true. But, it only took me ~30 words to tell you that. With some, to me unintelligible, philosophical introduction that included Christianity (in my mind completely nullifying any logical conclusion you may be trying to get at) Hathaway took 100 pages. Just couldn’t spit anything out on to the page concisely which ended up in the chapters just being a collection of stuff she thought she needed to tell you to get her point across. *soft zombie noise*
Profile Image for Michelle Taylor.
25 reviews
July 10, 2016
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 because they are intended to be the culmination of the manifesto (at least, they occupy the most—and at the end, the most prominent—space). Haraway makes no attempt to explain how her breed histories differ from breed clubs’ versions, however. The unemphasized but more interesting—because more generally applicable—sections of the work have to do with dog love and approaches to dog training. Ironically, it is in her Australian Shepherd history that she writes: “Companion species cannot afford evolutionary, personal, or historical amnesia. Amnesia will corrupt sign and flesh and make love petty” (82). This seems to be a better point to prioritize: we must understand how dogs developed alongside us in order to appreciate and not abuse the relationship we so value. The statement hearkens back to her earlier, but very brief, concern with pet owners’ tendency to infantilize their dogs, converting them into “furry children” rather than companion species. If we refuse to view dogs as anything but the givers of unconditional love, we are much more likely to abuse our dogs and be abused ourselves—not necessarily physically, but often enough. As Haraway puts 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). At the very least we allow ourselves to be disappointed, because unconditional love simply does not exist.
To dismiss unconditional love as the basis of a dog-human relationship is to begin to form an actual relationship. Haraway, herself an agility trainer, discusses two training methods (Susan Garrett’s and Vicki Hearne’s), which differ in approach but not in principle: both focus on “‘communication’ across irreducible difference” (49). It is the human’s attunement to an individual dog’s needs, preferences, and personality that make training a source of freedom for the dog. Via training, he learns to communicate and is granted status an individual. Though Haraway’s manifesto has trouble stabilizing its direction and treats many topics too generally for fruitful consideration, it does provide helpful ways of thinking about how to live with dogs—something it can do precisely because it recognizes dogs’ roles in a co-evolutionary history, and can thus implicitly refute the insistence of animal rights activists that we have simply colonized dogs for our own purposes.
Profile Image for Gina Lyle.
26 reviews
May 27, 2019
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 with jobs’ are safer because their survival isn’t dependant on human affection, then what happens when they outgrow their usefulness, if they are unsuccessful, or if the work relies on their abuse? She notes herself 43 dogs killed by wolves in the Lamar Valley in Wyoming, some on whom were ‘ill-prepared Great Pyrenees’ placed there by the Department of the Interior. Haraway talks a lot about the ‘love of a breed’ but acknowledges the damage that puppy mill production can do. She explicitly states that she supports dog adoption but seems to critique adoption of stray dogs from Puerto Rico into other parts of the US, without ever exactly pinpointing the issue she sees - she states that she just has to endure the discomfort this brings her. Her opinions feel pre-determined, and it seems that there’s an unwillingness to engage with theory that could disagree. Even the declared feminism of the text feels to me like little more than a nod to Virginia Woolf in a chapter’s title.

Haraway does raise some interesting points worth discussion: does treating our dogs as human children disrespect their otherness? Is unconditional love abusive? Whether these prompts are worth wading through the rest of the text is down to the individual, I suppose.

The Companion Species Manifesto walks a line between critical theory and personal exploration, but this text doesn’t feel well-researched, fluid, or engaging enough to truly succeed at either.
Profile Image for Emily Carlin.
325 reviews38 followers
June 30, 2021
I am woefully under-read when it comes to Haraway. In other words...this is the only thing I've ever read by her (oops).

So I think I'm probably working with a 20% comprehension level, here. But that 20% feels So useful and so fun ...

On the dark side of so-called "unconditional love":

Commonly in the US, dogs are attributed with the capacity for "unconditional love." According to this belief, people, burdened with misrecognition, contradiction, and complexity in their relations with other humans, find solace in unconditional love from their dogs. In turn, people love their dogs as children. In my opinion, both of these beliefs are not only based on mistakes, if not lies, but also they are in themselves abusive - to dogs and to humans. A cursory glance shows that dogs and humans have always had a vast range of ways of relating. But even among the pet-keeping folk of contemporary consumer cultures, or maybe especially among these people, belief in "unconditional love" is pernicious. If the idea that man makes himself by realizing his intentions in tools, such as domestic animals (dogs) and computers (cyborgs), is evidence of a neurosis that I call technophiliac narcissism, then the superficially opposed idea that dogs restore human beings' souls by their unconditional love might be the neurosis of canophiliac narcissism. Because I find the love of and between historically situated dogs and humans precious, dissenting from the discourse of unconditional love matters.


Receiving unconditional love from another is a rarely excusable neurotic fantasy; striving to fulfill the messy conditions of being in love is quite another matter. The permanent search for knowledge of the intimate other, and the inevitable comic and tragic mistakes in that quest, commands my respect, whether the other is animal or human, or indeed inanimate.

This just really hits:

Contrary to lots of dangerous and unethical projection in the Western world that makes domestic canines into furry children, dogs are not about oneself. Indeed, that is the beauty of dogs. They 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 is full of waste, cruelty, indifference, ignorance, and loss, as well as of joy, invention, labor, intelligence, and play. I want to learn how to narrate this co-history and how to inherit that consequences of co-evolution in natureculture.


Bringing Thomas Jefferson into the kennel, Hearne believes that the origin of rights is in committed relationships, not in separate and pre-existing identity categories. Therefore, in training, dogs obtain "rights" in specific humans. In relationship, dogs and humans construct "rights" in each other, such as the right to demand respect, attention, and response. Hearne descrived the sport of dog obedience as a place to increase the dog's power to claim rights against the human. Learning to obey one's dog honestly is the daunting task of the owner. Her language remaining relentlessly political and philosophical, Hearne asserts that in educating her dogs she "enfranchises" a relationship. The question turns out not to be what are animal rights, as if they existed preformed to be uncovered, but how may a human enter into a rights relationship with an animal? Such rights, rooted in reciprocal possession, turn out to be hard to dissolve; and the demands they make are life changing for al the partners...Hearne's ideal of animal happiness and rights is also a far cry from the relief of suffering as the core human obligation to animals. Human obligation to companion animals is much more exacting than that, even as daunting and ongoing cruelty and indifference are in this domain too...Something important comes into the world in the relational practice of training; all the participants are remodeled by it.

Starting to understand the "trust your dog" bumper sticker I saw one time:

Love, commitment, and yearning for skill with another are not zero sum games. Acts of love like training in Vicki Hearn'e sense breed acts of love like caring about and for other concatenated, emergent worlds. That is the core of my companion species manifesto. I experience agility [the dog sport] as a particular good in itself and also a way to become more worldly; i.e. more alert to the demands of significant otherness at all the scales that making more livable worlds demands."

Refusing easy narratives about dogs and people:

At least as important, I learned that I am interpellated into this story [of Sato dogs in Puerto Rico that get adopted to the US] in mind and heart. I cannot disown it by calling attention to its racially-tinged, sexually-infused, class-saturated, and colonial tones and structures. Again and again in my manifesto, I and my people need to learn to inhabit histories, not disown them, least of all through the cheap tricks of puritanical critique. In the Sato story, there are two kinds of superficially opposed temptations to puritanical critique. The first is to indulge in the colonialist sentimentality that sees only philanthropic (philo-canidic?) rescue of the abused in the traffic of dogs from Puerto Rican streets to no-kill animal shelters in the United States and from there to proper homes. The second is to indulge in historical structural analysis in a way that denies both emotional bonds and material complexity and so avoids the always messy participation in action that might improve lives across many kinds of difference.
Profile Image for Christine.
14 reviews6 followers
February 6, 2012
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 engaged with Native ways of knowing and living.
Profile Image for Jonna Higgins-Freese.
730 reviews48 followers
July 30, 2017
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 is full of waste, cruelty, indifference, ignorance, and loss, as well as of joy, invention, labor, intelligence, and play. I want to learn how to narrate this co-history and how to inherit the consequences of co-evolution in natureculture." (12). Sure, and your point is?

She does have some interesting things to say about the dangers of pet relationships: "Loving dogs . . . is not incompatible with a pet relationship . . . being a pet seems to me to be a demanding job for a dog, requiring self-control and canine emotional and cognitive skills matching those of good working dogs . . . play between humans and pets, as well as simply spending time peaceably hanging out togheter, brings joy to all the participants . . .nevertheless, the status of pet puts a dog at special risk . . . -- the risk of abandonment when human affection wanes, when people's convenience takes precedence, or when the dog fails to deliver on the fantasy of unconditional love . . . [there is] importance to dogs of jobs that leave them less vulnerable to human consumerist whims . . . many . . guardian dogs are respected for the work they do. Some are loved and some are not, but their value does not depend on an economy of affection . . . rather, the dog has to do his or her job, and . . . the rest is gravy." Though this ignores the fact that those who don't do their jobs are not valued -- there is a story of my farmer-grandfather who took a stupid dog out to the field and shot it. No place on the farm for a dog that didn't do its job. I'm surprised that Haraway doesn't seem to mind the "special risk" of dogs in a society where dogs might be judged by their ability to do a herding job versus a being-a-pet job. Both depend on human convenience.

She seems to want to draw attention to the kind of communication and attention that are necessary to have a relationship with a dog. Ok. "All ethical relating, within or between species, is knit from the silk-strong thread of ongoing alertness to otherness-in-relation. We are not one, and being depends on getting on together." Dogs' survival depends on their ability to read human cues. Of course. "Would that humans respond[ed] better than chance levels to what dogs tell them. Well, sure. Of course, the oppressed are always better at reading those in power than those in power are at knowing/reading the oppressed. They have to be. And yet, the subaltern does have power. The weak resist. And exert a curious power -- dogs just mean something to us, even if they no longer provide us the evolutionary advantage needed to survive. Or maybe they do and we just don't have ways to talk about/understand it.

Working with dogs helps us learn to attend to and understand the other. Perhaps. (61)

The world is complicated. Love and desire and oppression and abuse of power are all interfolded together. Or, in regard to telling the story of street dogs in Puerto Rico rescued, rehabilitated, and shipped to forever homes in the US, "I am interpellated into this story in mind and heart. I cannot disown it by calling attention to its racially-tinged, sexually-infused, class-saturated, and colonial tones and structures . . . I need to learn to inhabit histories, not disown them, least of all through the cheap tricks of puritanical critique." (89).

Yup. Life is messy. We're all implicated. None of us is without sin. Apparently this was news to Haraway, and she needed to articulate it for herself and others who are apparently so ensconced in academic realms of theory that this was news to them. I hope it was helpful news.

To be fair, two insights were helpful to me: "I resist being called the 'mom' to my dogs because I fear infantilization of the adult canines and misidentification of the important fact that I wanted dogs, not babies. My multi-species family is not about surrogacy and substitutes; we are trying to live other tropes, other metaplasms. We need other nouns and pronouns for the kin genres of companion species, just as we did (and still do) for the spectrum of genders. Except in a party invitation or a philosophical discussion, 'significant other' won't do for human sexual partners; and the term performs little better to house the daily meanings of cobbled together kin relations in dog land"(96). This struck me because -- it's true that we don't have a good way to talk about what dogs mean to us; this shows up whenever someone's dog dies, and that person is devastated, and yet even to those of us who have experienced it ourselves and take it seriously, it doesn't seem like a serious form of grief.

The one odd nugget I took with me: "This is a family made up in the belly of ht emonster of inherited histories that have to be inhabited to be transformed. I always knew that if I turned up pregnant, I wanted the being in my womb to be a member of another species" (97). There's a story there.
Profile Image for Alexa.
2 reviews1 follower
July 21, 2022
she had me with the introduction of the problem (the fantasy of unconditional love being unfairly imposed onto dogs/cats/and other animals who often serve as companions for humans), she lost me at the supposed solution (giving dogs value by respecting them if they’re good at doing man-made jobs and have value in a capitalist system?). unless i’m missing something here…

still love you tho donna even though sometimes your theory makes fundamentally no sense to me. muah
Profile Image for sam.
10 reviews2 followers
December 20, 2008
Interesting book. It suffers from writing that at times approaches the panicked hyperventilated utterances of a creative twelve year old with a technical vocabulary
935 reviews7 followers
July 1, 2020

Wiki page
Log out
Member Resources
Corps Day Materials
CTEP Flickr Pics
Home → Forums
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 of our identities. In her manifesto, Haraway feels that interaction and use of technology plays a similar role as gender, race, sexuality and class and that the convergence of these categories have brought humans into an era where one can no longer identify with just one of these categories but rather must acknowledge all of them at once; in Haraway's view we are all cyborgs comprised of these facets. "The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness" is Haraway's further exploration of her views on our cyborg nature with a specific focus on human reliance on technology and the role it plays in shaping our collective identities as a species; in Haraway's cyborgian vision technology, be it computers, airplanes, or staplers, are not simply tools but rather extensions of ourselves if not part of ourselves, hence the argument that we are cyborgs. Haraway posits that one of the first technologies used by humans for advancement was animals, or as she calls them "companion species." Haraway makes a careful argument when naming animals as technologies for she is an animal lover and sees them as more emotionally complex than machines; she cites them as tools for human advancement and that they have entered or cyborg state through a historic collaboration, cohabitation, compassion and care. Haraway's text focuses on the reliance and cyborg bond between humans and her favorite animal, dogs. Haraway traces through histories of shepherding and dog training all the while returning to her argument that this historic partnership and cross species collaboration paved the way for the way we use modern technologies today, and while working in adorable stories about her pup Cayenne.

This book is a warm and fuzzy look at technology and our reliance on it and places this reliance in a history of partnership and care rather than one of industrialization. I feel that this perspective fits in well with the intentions behind CTEP. In our work, we strive to partner with community members and individuals and participants that come into our labs and programs. In teaching we work together with folks to make sure new cyborg skills are learned. To be cyborg is to rely on folks, things and animals that are outside of yourself. As I read on it was clear that Haraway is preaching a togetherness, and the importance of community and sharing. That as humans we must work with others to make up for skills we may lack, and as humans we are not alone and never have to be.

Haraway's writing is dense, full of tangents, and often meaning can be lost in her calls to the muses. I recommend this book to folks who enjoy reading critical theory and dissecting it and parsing through a bit of pontificating. It's a quick read and Haraway's writing can be absurd to the point of it being totally hilarious. Despite all of this, the book is truly sweet and just a love letter to her dog, so this is really a book for anyone who just really loves dogs.
Profile Image for Miss Bookiverse.
1,967 reviews73 followers
March 31, 2021
What a mess. I had really high expectations of this because Haraway is often mentioned and usually praised in the research literature I‘m reading for my studies, but her manifesto gave me trouble for the following reasons:

- The language, which is mostly on me and my lack of knowledge of fancy academic vocabulary.

- The references, which I refuse to take the blame for. Haraway often refers to her Cyborg Manifesto, which I haven‘t read, and just presumes that the reader knows what it consists of. Furthermore, she uses terminology like natureculture and technoculture without explaining them or at least hinting at their origin. I can mostly determine what she means with these terms from my previous studies but it doesn‘t make for a smooth read. Later on, she uses a lot of dog breeding and training related vocabulary that made me feel a little lost, too.

- The lack of explaining and logical structure. There is so little about her actual theory on the Companion Species. The bits that are there are dense and not elaborated on. Instead she introduces all these „stories“ about the history of certain dog breeds and dog training methods to undermine her point but I couldn‘t make the connection most of the time and didn‘t understand how the stories related to her theory.

- Where‘s the feminism? Haraway keeps mentioning how important a feminist perspective is to her and how well it ties in with her manifesto, but I didn‘t get where it comes into play except for maybe that Companion Species are build on mutual respect.

There were bits in here that I found interesting (dogs should not be seen as furry children; it’s unfair to expect unconditional love from another living being), her humor is razorsharp, and I really wanted to learn more about her idea/s, but her unstructured writing made it very hard for me to grasp what her points are.
Profile Image for Marta D'Agord.
212 reviews13 followers
October 20, 2021
Li na edição brasileira da Bazar do Tempo.
Duas décadas depois do seu Manifesto Ciborgue, a autora mostra que as espécies estão em estreita relação, social e biológica, por isso o uso da expressão espécies companheiras e natureza-cultura, natural-cultural. Ambos os Manifestos são inspirados no Manifesto de Marx e Engels. Convocação a mudar modos de vida. À formação acadêmica em zoologia e a filosofia, articulada à vivência no catolicismo e como filha de um jornalista esportivo, forma o contexto para a narrativa da interação das espécies. A história da espécie canina e da raça que se destaca protegendo rebanhos de ovelhas, até o agility, esporte que surgiu na década de 1970, caracterizado como percurso com obstáculos praticado em duplas humanos-cães e inspirado no hipismo.

A narrativa faz pensar as palavras, como no uso da palavra grega tropos nos dois sentidos, retórico e biológico. Essa palavra que significa virada, maneira, descreve o conjunto das torções de forma/sentido retóricas como a metáfora, a metonímia, a sinédoque e a ironia entre outros. A biologia usa essa palavra (tropismo) para descrever o movimento das plantas em relações a condições e estímulos ambientais. Os gatos de rua vêm compor as alteridades significativas na carta anexada ao final do livro.

Esta edição conta com uma entrevista com a autora na qual é interrogada a sua crítica ao pós-humanismo. Ao final do livro, a edição conta com o posfácio de Fernando Silva e Silva, Uma filosofia multiespécie para a sobrevivência terrestre onde ele destaca a ideia de partilhar o pão, viver e morrer na Terra.

Profile Image for Emily O..
160 reviews3 followers
September 22, 2023
A bit too detailed for anything but a skim, once I got past the first few chapters. Repetitive in concepts as it went on, though, of course, with examples given and a bit more explanation.
Most enjoyed the exploration of dogs as overly infantilized, even consumed as happiness-makers for humans. What of collaboration, learning-from, emerging with? Haraway raises powerful points from evolutionary history (such as the co-evolution of humans and dogs in herder societies, for instance, in which the guidance and skill of the herder dog was depended upon and learned from and adapted to by the human, as well as the support and safety and skill of the human was adapted to by the dog) to challenge this norm. She argues for human and dog co-emergence through figuring out communication mechanisms and sources of joy within each particular human-dog relationship. Not all dogs enjoy fetch; maybe a dog does it just for the joy of pleasing the person and getting treats. Maybe there is a source of joy more full for the dog, and the human can come to know these through more attentive observation of and communication with dogs.
Appreciated the persuasive and clear exploration of animal agency and wisdom, the improtance of working with dogs as collaborators and peers as opposed to pleasing pets and infantilized creatures. Appreciated the denouncement of enslaving dogs for capitalist consumption and of phrases like “mother/baby” and “owner” to describe a relationship between two differently-bodied, significant animal others.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 80 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.