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SPATIAL MODELS OF HUMAN-ANIMAL RELATIONS IN EASTERN SIBERIAN TAIGA REINDEER HERDING: THE USE OF LANDSCAPE AND INFRASTRUCTURE IN THE CONTEXT OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC CHANGE

K. Klokov, V. Davydov
Thursday 8 November 2018 by Libadmin2018

ABSTRACT

Domestication is a continuing process which takes place in the context of animals’ and humans’ cohabitation on same territory and should not be approached as a one-time and completed action. The control over animals’ movements in the context of the sustaining landscape is one of the main aspects of reindeer domestication. Reindeer herding is based on constant relocation of animals from place to place, implying daily short-term movements in order to bring them to a camp and to monitor predators’ movements. In case of reindeer breeding in the taiga people and animals used to closer spatial interactions, compared to those in the tundra. This results in much bigger degree of taming of individual animals. The spatial closeness of people and reindeer is an outcome of use of both natural landscapes and infrastructure. To certain extent different kinds of fences and built structures change the qualitative characteristics of human-animal interactions. Both administrative practices and technical innovations gradually change the spatial patterns of how reindeer herders use space. The purpose of this paper is to discuss how human-reindeer relations have been transformed is Eastern Siberian taiga reindeer herding in the context of social and economic change. The authors employ data from published works and their own field materials, which were gathered among Evenki and Tofalar reindeer herders in Eastern Siberia through participant observation. The collected and analyzed data show the heterogeneity and variability of relations between humans and reindeer in different areas of the Siberian taiga. The authors approach traditional technologies which local people continue to maintain as particular ‘tools’, which help to adapt reindeer herding to different types of taiga landscapes and to changing social and economic situation. These technologies are embedded into the symbiotic model of landscape appropriation, which is based on the mutual adaptation and strategy to minimize consumption of energy sources. Therefore, domestication of reindeer is a process of constant reshaping of human-animal relations in the context of changing environment, socio-economic conditions, technologies and energy exploitation strategies. This research was supported by the Russian Science Foundation (project No. 18-18-00309).

Keywords: reindeer herding, use of space, human-animal relations, socio-economic context, Eastern Siberia


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