Leslie Irvine

Office Location: 
Ketchum 311
Qualitative & Interpretive Sociology
Office Hours: 
Thurs. 12-3pm


Leslie Irvine (Ph.D. State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1997) is Associate Professor of Sociology. Primarily a social psychologist, her research areas include the self, the emotions, gender, and human-animal interaction. Her work has appeared in Qualitative Sociology, The Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, The Sociological Quarterly, Society & Animals, Social Problems, Gender & Society, and Symbolic Interaction, as well as in edited volumes. Her books include Codependent Forevermore: The Invention of Self in a Twelve Step Group (1999, University of Chicago Press), If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connections with Animals (2004, Temple University Press), Filling the Ark: Animal Welfare in Disasters (2009, Temple University Press),  and My Dog Always Eats First: Homeless People and Their Animals (2013, Lynne Rienner Publishers), and the edited reader, The Self in Society (2013, Cognella Academic Publishing). Professor Irvine's methodological specialties are ethnographic fieldwork, interviewing, and narrative analysis. At the graduate level, she teaches Social Psychology and Theory.

Dr. Irvine's CV can be found here.

2015 "Animal Sheltering," Oxford Handbook of Animal Studies, edited by L. Kalof http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199927142.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199927142-e-12
2013   “Animals as Lifechangers and Lifesavers: Redemption Narratives among Homeless Pet Owners.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.
2012 “Sociology and Anthrozoology: Symbolic Interactionist Contributions.”Anthrozoös 25:379-393.
2012 “Helping People by Including Companion Animals in Disaster Planning.” Pp. 99-100 in Managing Urban Disaster Recovery: Policy, Planning, Concepts and Cases, edited by Edward J. Blakely, Eugénie L. Birch, Roland V. Anglin, and Haruo Hayashi. Crowthorne UK: Crisis Response Publications.
2012 (with Kristina Kahl and Jesse M. Smith) “Confrontations and Donations: Encounters between Homeless Pet Owners and the Public.” The Sociological Quarterly 53:25–43.
2011 The Self in Society. San Diego: Cognella Academic Publishing.
2010 (with Colter Ellis) “Reproducing Dominion: Emotional Apprenticeship in the 4H Youth Livestock Program.” Society & Animals 18:21-39.
2010 (with Jenny R. Vermilya) “Gender Work in a Feminized ProfessionReview of Just a Dog: The Case of Veterinary Medicine.” Gender & Society 24:56-82.
2010 “A Thousand Dogs Barking.” Natural Hazards Observer 34(4):1, 12-15.
2008 "Animals and Sociology." Sociology Compass 2:1954-1971.
2007 Animals in Disasters: Responsibility and Action. Animals and Society Institute Policy Paper. Ann Arbor: Animals and Society Institute.
2007 Review of Just a Dog: Understanding Animal Cruelty and Ourselves, by Arnold Arluke,Contemporary Sociology 36:364-5
2007 “The Question of Animal Selves: Implications for Sociological Knowledge and Practice” Qualitative Sociology Review 3:5-21
2006  “Animals in Disasters: Issues for Animal Liberation Activism and Policy.” Animal Liberation Philosophy and Policy 4:2-16 
2006 "Providing for Pets during Disasters, Part II: Animal Response Volunteers in Gonzales, Louisiana.” Quick Response Research Report 187. Natural Hazards Research Center, University of Colorado.
2004 “Providing for Pets during Disasters: An Exploratory Study.” Quick Response Research Report 171. Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, University of Colorado.
2004 “Pampered or Enslaved? The Moral Dilemmas of Pets.” International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy 24:5-17
2004 “A Model of Animal Selfhood: Expanding Interactionist Possibilities.” Symbolic Interaction 27:3-21.
2003 "The Problem of Unwanted Pets: A Case Study in How Institutions ‘Think’ About Clients’ Needs.” Social Problems 50:550-566.
2003 Cat-egorically Family.” Network News, The Sociologists for Women in Society Newsletter 9 (Winter):15-19.
2003 "George’s Bulldog: What Mead’s Canine Companion Could Have Told Him About the Self.” Sociological Origins 3:46-49 
2002 "Animal Problems/People Skills: Emotional and Interactional Strategies in Humane Education." Society & Animals 10:63-91. online at: www.brill.nl
2001 (with Brian Klocke) “Redefining Men: Alternative Masculinities in a Twelve Step Group.” Men and Masculinities 4:27-48. 
2001   "The Power of Play." Anthrozoös 14:151-160.
2000 “Even Better Than the Real Thing: Narratives of the Self in Codependency.” Qualitative Sociology 23:9-28.




My Dog Always Eats First:

Homeless People and their Animals
Lynne Rienner Publishers 
ISBN: 978-1-58826-888-4

A weary-looking man stands at an intersection, backpack at his feet. Curled up nearby is a mixed-breed dog, unfazed by the passing traffic. The man holds a sign that reads, "Two old dogs need help. God bless." What's happening here?
Leslie Irvine breaks new ground in the study of homelessness by investigating the frequently noticed, yet underexplored, role that animals play in the lives of homeless people. Irvine conducted interviews on street corners, in shelters, even at highway underpasses, to provide insights into the benefits and liabilities that animals have for the homeless. She also weighs the perspectives of social service workers, veterinarians, and local communities. Her work provides a new way of looking at both the meaning of animal companionship and the concept of home itself.


The Self in Society
2011, Cognella Academic Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-60927-867-0

Few ideas are as taken for granted in modern society as the notion that people have selves. The Self in Society provides students with a thought-provoking set of readings to ignite their curiosity about this assumption. Most sociology courses aim to examine the relationship between the individual and society, but give scant attention to the individual side of the equation. Beginning with the established classic statements on the self, the readings trace the social origins of the idea that people have unique destinies they must understand and fulfill. They consider how to approach the self as a topic of study. They investigate how culture and individual experiences shape the personal self. The readings relate to sociological subfields such as race and ethnicity, sex and gender, religion, and inequality. They examine the possibility of selfhood among animals, and introduce recent research from neuroscience. Discussion questions and further readings after each chapter promote additional study. Whether used alone or as a supplement to a traditional text, The Self in Society can be a key to enhancing the sociological imagination.

Selections in The Self in Society are organized in three topical chapters, each prefaced with an introduction by the editor:
· Classic Perspectives on the Self
· Who am I? Self and Identity as a Problem
· New Directions in the Study of the Self


Filling the Ark

Animal Welfare in Disasters
2009 (May), Temple University Press
ISBN: 1-59213-834-9

When disasters strike, people are not the only victims. Hurricane Katrina raised public attention about how disasters affect dogs, cats, and other animals considered members of the human family. In this short but powerful book, noted sociologist Leslie Irvine goes beyond Katrina to examine how disasters like oil spills, fires, and other calamities affect various animal populations—on factory farms, in research facilities, and in the wild.
Filling the Ark argues that humans cause most of the risks faced by animals and urges for better decisions about the treatment of animals in disasters. Furthermore, it makes a broad appeal for the ethical necessity of better planning to keep animals out of jeopardy. Irvine not only offers policy recommendations and practical advice for evacuating animals, she also makes a strong case for rethinking our use of animals, suggesting ways to create more secure conditions.


Animals in Disasters

Responsibility and Action
2007, Animals and Society Institute, Policy Paper Series
ISBN: 978-0-9788572-2-6

An inclusive summary of the most up-to-date information about disaster response for animals in the United States, and a set of proposed initiatives for not-for-profit organizations and government agencies.


If You Tame Me

Understanding Our Connection With Animals
Foreword by Marc Bekoff
2004, Temple University Press
ISBN: 1-59213-241-3

Nearly everyone who cares about them believes that dogs and cats have a sense of self that renders them unique. Traditional science and philosophy declare such notions about our pets to be irrational and anthropomorphic. Animals, they say, have only the crudest form of thought and no sense of self at all. Leslie Irvine's If You Tame Mechallenges these entrenched views by demonstrating that our experience of animals and their behavior tells a different story.
Dogs and cats have been significant elements in human history and valued members of our households for centuries. Why do we regard these companions as having distinct personalities and as being irreplaceable? Leslie Irvine looks closely at how people form "connections" with dogs and cats available in adoption shelters and reflects on her own relationships with animals. If You Tame Me makes a persuasive case for the existence of a sense of self in companion animals and calls upon us to reconsider our rights and obligations regarding the non-human creatures in our lives.


Codependent Forevermore

The Invention of Self in a Twelve Step Group
1999, University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226384719 

In the same week that his father died, Alex came home to find his live-in fiancée in bed with another man. Paul is a divorced single parent who was recently forced to go on disability. Liz left an abusive husband and then found herself involved with yet another controlling man. These three, along with many others, have found a kind of salvation in Codependents Anonymous. Is this self-indulgent psychobabble or legitimate therapy? Are Twelve Step groups helpful communities or disguised addictions? And what exactly is codependency, the psychological condition that has apparently swept the United States? Leslie Irvine went inside "CoDA" to find out.
Codependent Forevermore is thus an insider's look at the world of people "in recovery" and the society that produced them. Through extensive interviews with CoDA members, case studies, and the meetings she attended regularly, Irvine develops a galvanizing perspective on contemporary Americans' sense of self. She explores the idea that selfhood is a narrative accomplishment, achieved by people telling stories to themselves and about themselves. She shows how Alex, Paul, Liz, and many others create a sense of self by combining elements of autobiography, culture, and social structure all within the adopted language of psycho-spirituality.
By following the progress and tribulations of CoDA members, Irvine gets to the heart of widespread American conceptions of relationships, selfhood, and community. Amidst the increasingly shrill criticism of the Twelve Step ethos, her reasoned and considered analysis of these groups reveals the sources of both their power and their popularity.


New Books in Sociology podcast interview:
CBC Radio's "The Current" interview: Homeless People and Their Pets
Dog Law Reporter: Keeping Homeless and Their Pets Together in Shelters and Housing
The Intercept: How Dogs form a Bond with Rio's Homeless that is Lifesaving for Both
Freedom of Species interview: Filling the Ark
My Dog Always Eats First featured on Animals Today radio
Filling the Ark reviewed on Animal Inventory Blog
Filling the Ark featured in Colorado Arts and Sciences Magazine
“Economic Crisis Reaching our Pets, too” 
Interview with NewsTeam Boulder
Circus Protest! Read About it! 
View the Slideshow
"Forgotten Victims Get Attention"
Colorado Daily: August 15, 2005

"Four-legged Family Members Must be Included in Emergency Plans"
NSF Press Resease: August 16, 2005
Humane Society: Volunteer Spotlight
"Immediate Response"
NSF Press Release: May 2006

Guidelines for writing qualitative dissertation proposals

Note: content and texts are subject to change. This is for informational purposes only and not to be used for students enrolled in specific courses. See current course offerings on this website for syllabi in use. Links found on syllabi for past semesters have been disabled.
Introduction to Sociological Theory (SOCY 2001)
Social Psychology (SOCY 4031)
The Self in Modern Society (SOCY 3151)
Graduate Seminar in Modern Theory (SOCY 5011)
Graduate Seminar in Social Psychology (SOCY 5531)

Animals and Society (SOCY4017) (MS Word format)