Axis and Borders: patterns of spatial organization of herding and hunting in Northern Landscapes
Konstantin Klokov (Saint-Petersburg State University)
Vladimir Davydov (Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography)
Paper short abstract:
Do the lines on the earth point the direction to move, or are they boundaries restricting movements? The authors' field studies discuss the paradoxical character of the perception of space by different groups of northern population and by animals living in the symbiotic relationship with people.
Paper long abstract:
According to the fundamental Tim Ingold's idea on two various patterns of perception of the environment, northern pastoralists, perceive space as a point-axial structure. By contrast, representatives of Western culture perceive the land as a number of plots divided by boundaries. The authors' field studies discuss the paradoxical and ambiguous character of the perception of space by different groups of northern population. Thus, fences can either continue natural landscape boundaries, or in opposite, artificially dissect the natural landscape into separate parts depending on different types of reindeer husbandry. Lines of traps can follow rivers or watersheds or, on the contrary, cross them. The industrial infrastructure transforms living landscapes of reindeer herders and forces them to adapt to new spatial patterns. Infrastructure objects can be interpreted in different mental contexts, which change their role in the life of pastoralists. Depending on the context, they can play for herders the role of the axes, as well as the borders. The role of infrastructure lines depends not only on the mentality of people, but also on the cognitive abilities of animals living in the symbiotic relationship with people. Thus, due to the peculiarities of reindeer herd's behavior a pipeline raised above the ground on the poles ceases to be an obstacle for the movements of individual animals, but works this way for the reindeer herd. Therefore, a herd grazing nearby a pipeline can be easily dissipated. In this sense, infrastructure reshapes the physical space and changes patterns of both humans' and animals' movements.
Lines on the land: mobility and stasis in northern extractive landscapes