Accepted Paper:

The animal strength as means of the police force. Work and fabrication of the patrol dogs of the national police in France.  


Sébastien Mouret (INRA)

Paper short abstract:

The purpose of this paper is to clarify how actors use the concept of work to qualify the participation of animals in human activities, and to redefine the boundaries between the humanity and animality. We will take the case, in France, of the work of the national police dogs

Paper long abstract:

Into the french national police, the category of « patrol dog » is defined by the policemen from the actual work that they do with their animals. The use of the concept of work by these actors is part of a dogs qualification process that has a normative dimension. Patrol dogs are defined as some « dogs at work » in situations where the police forces are deployed in public space. Animals must satisfy the normative requirements, based on practical rules of the expression of their strength and their aggressiveness. These rules define a cop frame, in the sense that E. Goffman gives the frame concept, produced by a training process that transforms the previous social frames of animals, based on docility. The mobilization of the cop frame by animals, in situations of police work, is both situated, informed, coordinated and evaluated. She is not a mechanical application, but a concrete fulfillment of the rules made by animals depending on local circumstances. Conventionalized brackets - such as the release of the cop car - inform the dogs of the spatio-temporal opening and closing of the cop frame. The coordination at work reposes on a communication based primarily on a physical control of dog's aggressiveness by policemen. Finally, the work of the animals takes the form of a test of courage, a constitutive value of human collectives of work in the police, and shaped by public policies based on the security reason.

Panel P23
Collaboration and partnership in human-animal communities: reconsidering ways of learning and communication