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Defining Fish

Lawson, Helene M (2011) Defining Fish. Sociological Viewpoints, 27 (1). 47 - 56. ISSN 1060-0876

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This research examines the social construction of the roles and meaning of domestic fish (i.e. fish that are household pets, in personal collections, used as living decorations and incidentally as food) through interviews, participant observations and textual studies. It examines how these roles and meanings are assigned through social ritual. Fish are among the most silent animals and seem ready to assume without dispute whatever identity humans wish to give them at any moment. Humans create fanciful identities for their fish in order to serve their human needs. This paper focuses on the roles that are commonly assigned to fish and the limited likelihood that fish could ever fulfill them. It finds an epistemic gap that raises ethical questions about the way humans treat their fish.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lawson, Helene Mlawson@pitt.eduLAWSON
Date: 2011
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: Sociological Viewpoints
Volume: 27
Number: 1
Publisher: Pennsylvania Sociological Society
Page Range: 47 - 56
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: University of Pittsburgh at Bradford
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1060-0876
Official URL:
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2012 16:58
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 18:59


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