Dogtooth: Initiating Children in Language and World

  • Naomi HodgsonEmail author
  • Stefan Ramaekers


The second film analysis, of Dogtooth, draws out how the depiction of childrearing in the film is allegorical of how we protect children from, and initiate children in to, the world. To further develop the affirmative account of upbringing, we focus on the very particular vision of language presented in the film, particularly, the specific teaching and learning of words and the world it constitutes that we see. We articulate this in relation to Stanley Cavell’s account of initiation as an expression of what we do when we ‘teach’ children about the world. We argue that the use of language in the film exposes something of our relationship to language and to our children that goes unnoticed in today’s predominant recasting of this relationship in terms of ‘parenting.’ The film asserts, albeit in a paradoxical way, the implications of the inevitability of the representativeness of the parent as a pedagogical figure.


Dogtooth Language Initiation Cavell Wittgenstein Representativeness Domestication World constitution 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Liverpool Hope UniversityLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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