Animal Enthusiasms explores how human–animal relationships are conceived, developed, and carried out in rural Pakistani Muslim society through an examination of practices such as pigeon flying, cockfighting, and dogfighting.

Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork carried between 2008 and 2018 in rural South Punjab, the book examines the crucial cultural concept of shauq (enthusiasm) and provides critical insight into changing ways of life in contemporary Pakistan. It tracks the relationships between men mediated by non-human animals and discusses how such relationships in rural areas are coded in complex ways. The chapters draw on debates around transformations of animal activities over time, the changing forms of human–animal intimacy and their impact on familial relationships, and rural Punjabi values attached to the performance of masculine honour.

The book will be of interest to scholars of anthropology, multi-species ethnography, gender and masculinity studies, and South Asian studies.

chapter |18 pages


chapter 1|15 pages

Decolonising passions

chapter 2|27 pages

Living with pigeons

Rooftop intimacies

chapter 3|28 pages

The seduction of cockfighting

Forbidden dangers

chapter 4|26 pages

The spectacle of dogfighting

Amplified masculinity

chapter 5|15 pages

A life with shauqeen

Familial relations in a multi-species household

chapter 6|18 pages

Threats to genuine shauq

chapter |7 pages


Life beyond cage and leash