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Accepted Paper:

Commoning Pigs in the Urban Anthropocene  
Aníbal Arregui (University of Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

The entry of wild boar into cities is driven by intimate alliances, infrastructural side-effects, and global ecological transformations. Interlinking these three levels, the Anthropocene unfolds in the city as an irredeemable commoning of humans, pigs, and other forms of urban wildlife.

Paper long abstract:

I accompany ethnographically the process of wild boar urbanization in Barcelona since 2017. In this city, the ever-growing areas of the outskirts offer a felicitous combination of acorn-rich suburban forests, household garbage, lawns, water resources, and human feeders: a truly ecological heaven for new forms of porcine life.

Cities such as Berlin, Hong Kong, or Rome, among others, are facing comparable challenges. Human allies (e.g. feeders) and urban infrastructure (e.g. dumpsters) are local effects and always constitute a great attraction for these animals. Yet the emerging urban pig ecologies are also fostered by wider ranging dynamics: it turns out that global warming is an anthropogenic condition in which wild boar populations thrive. While milder winter temperatures follow higher reproductive rates and less mortality, the decreased availability of beechnuts triggers the foraging of alternative food sources in metropolitan areas.

The moves of wild boar into different cities carries the message of an inexorable reconfiguration of the relations between humans and some wild species in the context of climate change. In this presentation, I weave together the intimate, infrastructural and global ecological scales that explain the processes of wild boar mobility, proliferation, and urbanisation. I anticipate an urban Anthropocene marked by the failed efforts to maintain the boundaries between the city and the wild. The ongoing experiments of commoning urban spaces with wild species are certainly risky, technically challenging, and to some extent unavoidable.

Panel P101a
Future Commons of the Anthropocene
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 July, 2022, -