Accepted Paper:

Domestication 'after nature': Textures and temporalities in salmon aquaculture  


Marianne Elisabeth Lien (University of Oslo)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores domesticatioin 'after nature'. Drawing on fieldwork on salmon aquaculture, I explore domestication 'from below', attending to the textures and temporalities through which human-salmon assemblages are precariously held together.

Paper long abstract:

Significant achievements were made in the study of domestication when nature and culture represented opposite poles of the human-animal relation, and domestication could be framed as a significant moment in an imagined evolutionary path towards human cilivilization.

This paper seeks to explore domestication 'after nature'. Dismissing ontological dualisms of nature and culture, and sharply assymmetrical distributions of agency, I seek to explore domestication 'from below', asking what are the textures and socio-material qualities that hold human-animal assemblages together?

The paper draws on extended fieldwork in salmon aquaculture. With a relatively short history, salmon are still 'newcomers to the farm', and salmon production sites thus offer an opportunity to study 'animal husbandry in the making'. Yet, what could be seen as a paradigmatic case of successful 'human control of nature', is also, or perhaps instead, a precarious assemblage. Drawing attention to the textures and temporalities of contemporary aquaculture I propose an alternative approach to the history of human-animal domestication.

Panel BH15
Querying domestication: the ethnography of human-animal entanglements