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Towards a Multiangled Study of Reindeer Agency, Overlapping Environments, and Human–Animal Relationships

Towards a Multiangled Study of Reindeer Agency, Overlapping Environments, and Human–Animal... Abstract: This paper discusses the applicability of theories about animal agency to studies of human–animal relationships in the academic disciplines of environmental history and archaeology. Both disciplines have a traditional epistemological stance that neglects the perceptual worlds of the animal. One example is presented of efforts to write from the other side of the epistemological chasm, on the environment of the animal , as well as Morten Tønnessen’s (2010) concepts of semiotic and ontological niches. There is also a critical discussion as to whether these concepts are applicable to the relationship between reindeer and humans. The second part of the text is devoted to an effort to recover the human presence in the scheme, with examples from sacrificial animals. It is argued that the human presence illuminates certain aspects of the animal agency, which theorizing on the animal Umwelt (environment) tends to neglect. In addition, these theories provide a heuristic foundation where species-specific environments, in all of which the reindeer dwells, provide a multiangled view of the limits of animal agency and the ways in which species, humans included, affect each other’s behavior in animal-to-animal and human–animal settings. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Arctic Anthropology University of Wisconsin Press

Towards a Multiangled Study of Reindeer Agency, Overlapping Environments, and Human–Animal Relationships

Arctic Anthropology , Volume 50 (2) – Feb 20, 2013

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Publisher
University of Wisconsin Press
Copyright
University of Wisconsin System
ISSN
1933-8139
Publisher site
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Abstract

Abstract: This paper discusses the applicability of theories about animal agency to studies of human–animal relationships in the academic disciplines of environmental history and archaeology. Both disciplines have a traditional epistemological stance that neglects the perceptual worlds of the animal. One example is presented of efforts to write from the other side of the epistemological chasm, on the environment of the animal , as well as Morten Tønnessen’s (2010) concepts of semiotic and ontological niches. There is also a critical discussion as to whether these concepts are applicable to the relationship between reindeer and humans. The second part of the text is devoted to an effort to recover the human presence in the scheme, with examples from sacrificial animals. It is argued that the human presence illuminates certain aspects of the animal agency, which theorizing on the animal Umwelt (environment) tends to neglect. In addition, these theories provide a heuristic foundation where species-specific environments, in all of which the reindeer dwells, provide a multiangled view of the limits of animal agency and the ways in which species, humans included, affect each other’s behavior in animal-to-animal and human–animal settings.

Journal

Arctic AnthropologyUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Feb 20, 2013

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