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Guenther, K. M. (2017). Volunteers’ Power and Resistance in the Struggle for Shelter Animal Survival. In Sociological Forum.
This article presents an analysis of how volunteers use different forms of capital to resist the practices and discourses of the organization for which they volunteer. Volunteers at a large public animal shelter do not share the shelter’s institutionally held belief that shelter death is an inevitable result of homelessness among companion animals; to reduce shelter death, they craft challenges to the shelter practice of putting dogs down and work to construct shelter death as an avoidable and problematic outcome. Their repertoire of resistance includes educational, health-based, relational, moral, reputational, and legal strategies. The findings illuminate that volunteers’ social location outside of the shelter provides them with capital to engage in resistance within the shelter.
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