In the society of animals: the nurturing of llamas and their herders in Isluga, northern Chile
Penelope Dransart (University of Aberdeen)
Paper short abstract:
The paper examines notions of society in terms of companionship between species in an examination of the ‘nuturing’ of herd animals in Isluga, Chile. It discusses debates on the notions of continuity and discontinuity between human beings and other animals.
Paper long abstract:
Social worlds are more than human because they incorporate other living beings along with the human members. In this paper the term 'society' is taken to refer to companionship between species as an attribute of the members, both human and nonhuman. This approach differs from that of anthropologists who insist that social and cultural domains possess an ontological autonomy that differs from the biological 'base'. Based on fieldwork conducted among Aymara-speaking herders of llamas, alpacas and sheep in Isluga, northern Chile, the paper explores the productive activities of human herders and of their herd animals. It examines concepts regarding 'nurtured' and 'unnurtured' animals as well as the forms of companionship taking place between species. Recent debates have questioned notions of continuity or discontinuity between human and other animals; the argument that a 'boundary breakdown' is occurring between species is countered by authors who recognise the uniqueness of individual species. This paper explores spatial and temporal notions of distance between between 'nurtured' and 'unnutured' beings in the context of more-than-human social worlds.
Objects, persons or property? Revisiting human-animal relations in the Andes, Amazonia and the American Arctic