Accepted Paper:

The science-fable of primatology: ontological negotiations between scientists and primates  


Guilherme José da Silva e Sá (Universidade de Brasília (UnB))

Paper short abstract:

This paper - based on ethnographic fieldwork with a team of primatologists in Brazillian Atlantic Forest - focuses on the construction of primatological knowledge besides looks at the building of its primate subjects (humans and non-humans).

Paper long abstract:

Primatology has been figured among other modern sciences as a profitable domain for the social studies of science. It occurs partially because its historical connections with naturalistic explanations on primate's behavior that, further, are usually projected over human´s own condition. Meantime, primatology also constitutes an ambiguous field if we consider the agent´s performances involved on it. This variant dimension is present in the relations - that in this paper I will call "intersubjective" - placed during primatological fieldwork. Attesting the prominence of being human / non-human face-to-face, it displays a proper type of literature plenty of narratives relating interespecific encounters. Without forming generalizations, it doesn't mean that naturalistic approaches can explain entirely what primatologists do. Not even affirm that building animistic scenery we can better follow the actants here. Both possibilities are insufficient to explain such inconstant conditions during the encounters between primatologists and their primates, and vice versa. In that sense, it doesn´t help simply set systems of objectivation of nature as apparatus of exclusion, but, otherwise, it sounds better thinking on articulations among natures-cultures that can fulfill "trans-specific" anthropologies and intersubjective primatologies.

Panel P15
Internal others: ethnographies of euroamerican naturalism