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Holy Bonsai Wolves: Chihuahuas and the Paris Hilton Syndrome
HVV, Mälardalens högskola. (Cultural Matters Group)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9902-1191
2019 (English)In: On Dogs: An Anthology, Kendal, Cumbria: Notting Hill Editions , 2019, 1, p. 147-152Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This article examines the reasons for the Chihuahua breed’s popularity in contemporary western society by looking at two sets of data: Chihuahua handbooks and The Simple Life show, starring Paris Hilton and her Chihuahua Tinkerbell. The article argues that the Chihuahua is a holy anomaly: a creature which can be used in myths and rituals to temporarily alleviate the tension-filled binary oppositions and stereotypes inherent in a particular culture, in order to celebrate and reinforce that culture’s categories and social order. The Chihuahua – or the bonsai wolf – transcends two binary oppositions fundamental to contemporary westerners: subject/object and nature/culture. Although the Chihuahua challenges a number of related binary oppositions, it is generally dismissed as a matter for humor, low-brow entertainment or expressions of sentimentality, rendering ritual encounters with Chihuahuas harmless. The article concludes by asking: what would happen if humans actually started listening to what the Chihuahua is telling them?

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kendal, Cumbria: Notting Hill Editions , 2019, 1. p. 147-152
Keywords [en]
animal–human relations, anomalies, binary oppositions, Chihuahuas, dichotomies, dogs, Donna Haraway, Paris Hilton, hudographies, humor, popular culture
National Category
Sociology Philosophy Social Anthropology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-396924ISBN: 1912559153 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-396924DiVA, id: diva2:1369439
Projects
Intimitetens sociala former
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 421-2014-1465
Note

Revised and edited version of a text that previously appeared as

Redmalm, David (2014) ‘Holy Bonsai Wolves: Chihuahuas and the Paris Hilton Syndrome,’ International Journal of Cultural Studies 17(1), 93–109. (Included in dissertation).

Available from: 2019-11-12 Created: 2019-11-12 Last updated: 2019-11-12

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