Double Others and the Negotiation of Wildlife Belonging in Europe
Ludek Broz (The Czech Academy of Sciences)
Erica von Essen (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores cases of non-human migration and their resonance and consequences in the moral economy of wildlife and in the necropolitics - the (in)formally coded decisions of what lives or dies - pursued in contemporary hunting cultures.
Paper long abstract:
Dystopias of invasion feature prominently not only in popular conceptualisations of human migration e.g. during the so-called refugee crises and its aftermath. As evidenced not least in the recent proposals to erect 'great walls' to fence out wild boars in Poland and in Denmark, European hunters also subscribe to strikingly similar imagery describing migrating non-human animals as transgressing physical, symbolic and moral boundaries. In this paper we aim at elucidating how post-migration modes of coexistence are established, maintained or challenged on the ground. We ask: when are animals treated as 'legitimate returnees,' 'precious visitors,' welcome extensions of the list of game animal species, or are simply ignored by human gamekeepers, and when do they become invading intruders to be eradicated? Such unwelcome animal migrants become double others - other to humans and other to indigenous animal inhabitants of a particular territory. They lead life of 'animal sacrum' (after homo sacer, a kind of outlaw). Otherness has been a staple theme of social and cultural anthropology in both, asking how to study it and theorize it and in asking how ethnographer's interlocutors themselves conceptualize it. Looking at empirical cases presented within the panel as well as those taken from our own work, including wolves and wild boars, we formulate the concept of "doubled otherness". We propose the processes of double-othering shape identity and alterity and facilitate necropolitics - the (in)formally coded decisions of what lives or dies - pursued in contemporary hunting cultures and beyond.