Animal practices, ethnicity, and community: The Turkish pigeon handlers of Berlin

Colin Jerolmack

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Though largely overlooked by scholars of ethnicity and culture, animal practices can structure and reflect identity and social relations. Based on individual and group interviews and observations in Berlin, Germany, this study examines how a group of Turkish men experience and assign significance to the activity of caring for domestic pigeons. Building on approaches to ethnicity that follow the "cognitive turn," as well as recent studies of human-animal interaction and cultural examinations of nature and the environment, this article demonstrates how: (1) these men frame their animal practices within their understandings of ethnicity, culture, and territory; and (2) communal relationships formed through pigeon caretaking reinforce definitions of Turkish ethnicity and culture for participants. Beyond offering in situ data on the link between animal practices and ethnicity, the analyses and case suggest how and why sociologists should consider animals and nature as potential constitutive objects of ethnic identity and culture.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)874-894
    Number of pages21
    JournalAmerican sociological review
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Dec 2007

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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