Event Details

Project members to present at the ASA conference in Exeter, 13-16 April 2015

13 - 16 April 2015

Association of Social Anthropology of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA) conference in Exeter, 2015

Two projects members, Peter Loovers and Sara Schroer, are organizing a panel at the ASA conference in Exeter, called “Collaboration and Partnership in Human-Animal Communities: Reconsidering Ways of Learning and Communication”

Short abstract:

In this panel we invite contributors to critically engage with notions of collaboration and partnership in human-animal relationships. We aim to discuss and compare these topics through a variety of themes from different ethnographic contexts.

Long abstract:

In this panel we invite speakers to contribute papers stemming from fieldwork within human-animal communities that critically engage with notions of collaboration and partnership. We take as starting point that animals are active participants in the formation of mutual relationships with humans. Doing so may allow us to rethink domestication by investigating the complexity of relationships that becomes evident when considering collaborative practices and the notion of human-animal partnership. Part of such examination could be a focus on the place and use of tools, architecture, and artefacts in such relationships. It could also be a consideration of questions of learning, shared knowledge and communication. Investigations may consider ‘working animals’, for instance, in husbandry, herding and hunting. Other possibilities might be related to practices of shamanism, narratives of ‘mythical’ animals, or in terms of human-animal relationships not conventionally included in domestication literature. Contributions to this panel may engage with these aspects but should not be limited to them.

 “Human and Reindeer: Co-survival strategies (Tofalars’ and Evenks’ reindeer herder communities in modern Siberia case-studies)

Another project member – Konstantin Klokov (Saint-Petersburg State University, Russia) – is giving a talk at this panel. His title: “Human and Reindeer: Co-survival strategies (Tofalars’ and Evenks’ reindeer herder communities in modern Siberia case-studies)”

Short abstract

Human and reindeer co-existence in Siberian rural communities study has shown differences in reindeer herding. Tofalars ride reindeer while hunting but they can replace them with horses. In contrast Evenks do not so much keep reindeer as reindeer support people giving them opportunity to live decently.         

Long abstract

Up to the present there are many indigenous communities in Siberian taiga whose life is connected with reindeer herding. However, the role of reindeer in different communities is significantly different. The research carried out in three settlements: Alygzher in Irkutsk area (about 1000 people, 700 of which are Tofalars, keep 400 reindeer); Tiania in Yakutiya (500 people, 410 of which are Evenks, keep 2700 reindeer in 3 herds); Surinda in Evenkiya (470 people, 450 of which are Evenks, keep 3000 reindeer in 8 herds), has shown the difference in reindeer herding. It is not steady in all the three communities; the probability of its loss in the nearest future cannot be excluded. 

Tofalars ride reindeer while hunting but they can easily replace them with horses. Tofalars living standards are high and they are almost independent of reindeer as well as their reindeer don’t need much human management or care. 

In Tiania reindeer herders are poor and constitute a separate social group supported by the local authorities as reindeer herding gives the community an opportunity to receive state subsidiaries. 

In Surinda, Evenks live in extreme poverty and are highly alcohol addicted though reindeer herders don’t  turn to it while staying in taiga. Here people do not so much keep reindeer as reindeer support people giving them opportunity to live decently. The one who loses reindeer turns poverty-struck.

As interviews and observations showed different methods of reindeer herd management and caring are used in the three communities. The reindeer behavior also differs greatly.

Hosted by: Association of Social Anthropology of the UK and Commonwealth (ASA)

Venue: University of Exeter


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