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Photo of Dr Julien Dugnoille

Dr Julien Dugnoille

Senior Lecturer (Anthropology)

Byrne House Tower Room

OFFICE HOURS: Term 1: Mondays 3-4pm (online) and Thursdays 3-4pm (online)

OFFICE: Byrne House, 2nd floor, SF3

I am anthropologist (DPhil Oxford) of human-animal interactions. For nearly a decade, much of my work has been dedicated to examining the place of dogs and cats in South Korean urban society and culture, a particularly complex and sensitive research topic that touches on mutliple social injustices (animal, gender and racial injustice), cultural relativism and imperialism, the use of animals in national identity rhetoric, the legitimacy of food taboos, speciesism, the question of violence within the debates between welfarist and abolitionist approaches to human-animal interactions, racialisation, and ontological perfusion in urban marketplaces.

My second book is a monograph, Dogs and Cats in South Korea: Itinerant Commodities, based on extensive fieldwork in the greater Seoul area, published with Purdue University Press in 2021.

Dogs and Cats in South Korea: Itinerant Commodities shows that though dogs and cats are consumed in the millions each year, they are recipients of both cruelty and care in a very unique way compared to other animal species in South Korean society. The anti-imperialist and postcolonial stances associated with the consumption of dogs and cats in South Korea are oversimplistic. Stereotypes by societies that do not eat these animals overshadow the various ways in which South Korean citizens interact with them, including companionship. In fact, many dogs and cats go from companion to livestock, and from livestock to companion, demonstrating that the relationships with these creatures are not only complex, but also fluid. The trajectories of the lives of dogs and cats are never linear. In that sense, individual dogs and cats in South Korea are itinerant animals navigating an exchange system based on culture, economics, and politics. With nuance and cultural understanding, Dugnoille tells the complicated stories of these animals in South Korea, as well as the humans who commoditize and singularize them.


My third book is a volume edited with Elizabeth Vander Meer where we, alongside other scholars of human-animal interactions (Bisenieks, Linton, Meijer, Pouillard and Ward), explore resistance and transformation in animal commodifcation. This book was published with Brill in 2022:  Animals matter: Resistance and transformation in animal commodifcation

Cover Animals Matter: Resistance and Transformation in Animal Commodification



In this book, we reclaim the term “resistance” by exploring how animals can “resist” their commodification through blocking and allowing human intervention in their lives. In the cases explored in this volume, animals lead humans to rethink their relationship to animals by either blocking and/or allowing human commodification. In some cases, this results in greater control exercised on the animals, while in others, animals’ resistance also poses a series of complex moral questions to human commodifiers, sometimes to the point of transforming humans into active members of resistance movements on behalf of animals.


My first book was published in French and addresses my early work on desire and anonymity in the work of Rilke, Blanchot and Nietzsche. This book was published with L'Harmattan.

Couverture Le désir d'anonymat chez Blanchot, Nietzsche et Rilke


La poésie est une espèce d'évasion. On peut ajouter à cette affirmation d'Artaud que l'expérience poétique engage celui qui s'y consacre à un abandon radical, celui de son propre moi. La création devient l'ennemie, un obstacle douloureux à la réalisation de soi, et pousse le créateur à préparer l'avènement de sa propre mort, une fois son oeuvre devenue indépendante.





Research group links

Research interests



This long-term research explores (since 2012) how South Koreans engage with ideologies about zootherapy, pure blood and ethnicity beyond the human world when justifying the use of nonhuman animals as curative commodities. I also explored South Korean civil discourses which emphasise a clear pet vs. food boundary with an ethnographic approach to the dog-meat trade which reveals that this taxonomy doesn’t represent how dogs are commoditised in practice. I have also shown how digital photography of human–animal relations empowers South Koreans with the capability to express their own views on tradition, social change and cultural stereotypes. Moreover, I have explored how animal activists deploy rescue narratives so as to attract adopting families, thus transforming people's perception of livestock animals into that of potential lifetime companions


Book and journal articles related to this research: 


Dugnoille, J. 2021. Dogs and cats in South Korea: Itinerant commodities. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press. ISBN 13: 9781612497044


Dugnoille, J. 2019. ‘I heard a dog cry’: More-than-human interrelatedness, ethnicity and zootherapy in South Korean civil society discourse about dog meat consumption Ethnography, 20(1): 68-87. DOI: 10.1177/1466138117735540 


Dugnoille, J. 2018. To eat or not to eat cats and dogs: South Korean Animal taxonomies. Food, Culture and Society, 21(2). DOI: 10.1080/15528014.2018.1429075


Dugnoille, J. 2016. Digitalizing the Korean cosmos: representing human–nonhuman continuity and filiality through digital photography in contemporary South Korea. Visual Studies, 31(4): 324-334. DOI: 10.1080/1472586X.2016.1246067


Dugnoille, J. 2014. From plate to pet: Promotion of trans-species companionship by Korean animal activists. Anthropology Today, 30(6): 3-7. DOI: 10.1111/1467-8322.12140




I am collaborating with Frédéric Keck (Collège de France, Directeur du Laboratoire d'Anthropologie Sociale (LAS)) and Miwon Seo-Plu (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Centre Chine, Corée, Japon (CCJ)), on a research project entitled 'Regulating Wetmarkets in Central China: Ethnographic study of the perception of zoonotic risks after the COVID-19 crisis', funded by the Agence nationale de la recherche (ANP). We are exploring the impact of the current pandemic on "wet markets" in some of the places I researched over the past ten years. This actualises the findings I have produced since 2012 on the consumption and production of dog meat in South Korea. Our findings will be published in the near future. 




With this research, I apply the Satrian existentialist framework of ‘The Look’ to the experiences of human-nonhuman intersubjectivity, which were expressed to me by a handful of small-scale farmers in France and in England. I also explore human-animal interactions through the lens of contemporary debates about commodification so as to articulate the feelings of dissonance experienced by populations who thingify sentient beings


Papers related to this research:


Dugnoille, J. Introduction: Resistance and transformation in animal commodification. In: Dugnoille, J and Vander Meer, E. (eds.) (under contract). Animals matter: Resistance and transformation in animal commodification. Human-Animal Studies Series. Leiden: Brill.


Dugnoille, J. 2022. Pièce de resistance: Sartrian existentialism in small-scale farming. In: Dugnoille, J and Vander Meer, E. (eds.). Resistance and transformation in animal commodification. Human-Animal Studies Series. Leiden: Brill.

Research supervision

Research expertise: Human-animal interactons, South Korea, 'wetmarkets', urban anthropology, dogs, cats, meat, slaughter, animal death, commodification, resistance, intersectionality, France, Sartre, Critical Animal Studies

Regional expertise: East Asia (especially urban South Korea), France, the UK

I welcome enquiries from prospective MA, MPhil and PhD students. Some of my students work on slaughterhouse visibility in the UK, Ireland and Denmark, the commodification of lions in French and Belgian circuses, the phenomenology of disgust in a Londonian butchery, the inclusion of nonhuman animals in a concept of peace, neo-paganism, etc.

Research students




Eimear Mc Loughlin - Slaughterhouse culture: An ethnography of animal slaughter in Denmark - PhD Social Anthropology - Now at Aarhus University


The visibility of animal slaughter in Denmark contrasts starkly with the modes of concealment typical of slaughterhouses in industrialised societies. Members of the public can enter a pig slaughterhouse and participate in a tour of the facility, tracking the animal from the slaughterhouse gate to the dinner plate. Interestingly, Denmark boasts one of the highest meat consumption rates in the world. This transparency of animal slaughter transcends the slaughterhouse to other arenas of animal consumption. My ESRC-funded PhD will involve a 13-month ethnographic fieldwork wherein I will interrogate Danish cultural attitudes towards animals and explore how these are influenced by visibility of animal consumptive practices. In collaboration with Copenhagen Zoo, I will conduct participant observation as well as semi-structured interviews with staff. I will carry out a significant ethnographic study of a Danish slaughterhouse using a variety of sociological and anthropological research methods. In an effort to recreate the immersive experience of the slaughterhouse, I will utilise a background in visual anthropology in collaboration with two art galleries in the exhibition of my research material.


Mc Loughlin E. Knowing cows: Transformative mobilizations of human and nonhuman bodies in an emotionography of the slaughterhouse. Gender Work Organ. 2018;121.


Mc Loughlin,E. (2015) #SaveBenjy: Sexuality, Queer Animals and Ireland Humanimalia, 7(1), p.109-122


Sarah Thubron - Rethinking peace: examining the position of non-human animals and the significance of industrial animal farming in the UK - PhD Sociology


My research will examine the applicability of the ideas of peace and violence in industrial farming by analysing UK law, rhetoric and policy with regards to nonhuman animals as well as how the notion of violence is used and performed at the level of those actually involved in handling animals. The project will examine these ideas in the context of sheep farming within the UK, paying particular attention to the transition from farm to slaughterhouse and the process of live animal transport. The research will be conducted using an interdisciplinary approach, involving text and discourse analysis of relevant political and legal outputs as well as ethnographic fieldwork, to examine whether the definition and perceived occurrence of violence differs according to what status the animals are accorded at each stage of the production process. In highlighting why the treatment of nonhuman animals in intensive farming is relevant to how peace is striven for in the UK, the research will ultimately question whether current UK policy can truly be said to be peaceful.


Elizabeth Vander Meer - Troubling Boundaries? Tradition, biopower and individual wild animals in French circuses - PhD Anthrozoology


Circus tradition that includes a central role for animal performance persists in France and is afforded governmental support and promotion through the Ministry of Culture. However, traditional circuses in Europe that perform with wild animals are being challenged publicly and altered through the enactment of legal bans on use of these animals, reflecting increasing unease with wild animal performance in particular.  My PhD project involves multi-sited multispecies ethnographic research of current 21st century traditions of wild animal performance in circuses in France, to investigate circus discourse and the lives of animals caught within entertaining narratives. I will undertake fieldwork within three circuses that perform in and around Paris. I build on existing research that explores boundaries between humans and other animals in circuses to explore how traditions of wild animal performance in French circuses may trouble or blur boundaries between humans and other animals, and how it is possible to make “visible” the lived experiences of individual animals to understand more fully the bodily impact of these traditions. Ideas in biopower and phenomenology provide the theoretical frame for this research which is located at the crossroads of Anthrozoology, Ethnographic Anthropology and Applied Philosophy. The study produced will capture a rare analytical account of an oral and physical tradition, while also giving full consideration to animal experience, of benefit to scholars of performance but also to those considering the welfare of animals in circuses, with great potential to feed into policy discussions and decisions.


Vander Meer, E. (2019). Returning to Wild? Four lions' journey from circus to sanctuary. Humanimalia, 10:2: 180-202.


Vander Meer, E. (2017). Alligator Song, Society & Animals, , 1-20. doi:


After finishing my BA in Philosophy at the Sorbonne (and working in the theatre industry on the side), I studied for an MA in ethnology at the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS). I then moved to Oxford to get first an MSc in Visual Anthropology and then a DPhil in Anthropology. During my studies at Oxford, I was a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago under a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Korea Foundation Fellow. I joined Exeter in 2015 as a Lecturer in Anthropology.


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