Arctic domestication over time and space

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Classical accounts of human evolution stress the means by which human persons gain increasingly more control over their surroundings through the management of surveyed space, the training and harnessing of animals, and the storage of food. Circumpolar societies, by contrast, tend to speak of their surroundings using themes of collaboration, guarded reciprocity, and 'trust'. In this paper I will contrast circumpolar idioms of relations between people and nature to those based around domination and control. I will argue that a geneological account of civilization–one which identifies domestication with an imaginary event in the deep past–blinds us to the complex ways in which human-animal relations are negotiated in the present. The presentation will make broad use of examples from across the circumpolar North including examples taken from reindeer pastoralism, dog domestication, and the domestication of fish.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2013
EventUnderstanding North - Umeå, Sweden
Duration: 25 Apr 201327 Apr 2013


ConferenceUnderstanding North


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