Hunting-Gathering

Hunters and gatherers are central to the beginnings of our discipline. They represent an early 20th century obsession with man (sic) living closer to nature, as compared to modern societies embroiled in processes of industrialisation and urbanisation. Recently, climate change, pollution, urbanisation, and issues of food (in)security, as well as a general theoretical reorientation towards more-than-human socialities and relations, have renewed interest in hunters and gatherers. In particular, when hunting and gathering are approached as a set of practices through which humans relate themselves to ecologies, such ecologies themselves emerge as lively participants in social worlds.

Studying hunting and gathering, for example through theoretical perspectives including political economy, work on the commons, and multispecies ethnography, opens up a wide array of issues relevant to contemporary society. They bring us to explore subsistence practices and their distinct social, economic, spiritual, and moral relations to people, animals, landscapes, or spirits (see, for example, Nadasdy 2007). They also highlight how these practices are enrolled in, conflict with, or emerge at the fringes of capitalist modes of production, governance modes of the commons, and nature conservation and wildlife management. We may look at, for example, the political ecology of hunting, raising questions about who has access to hunting grounds, and on what basis (Blaser 2009); explore tensions between various ways of caring for fish stocks (Østmo and Law 2018); sports and tourism (von Essen and Allen 2020); or gathering practices in capitalist ruins (Tsing 2015). Hunting may also find surprising new shapes as pest control, hoarding, and trophy hunting, or the disturbing phenomenon of refugee hunting. Cities have their own forms of hunting and gathering, which can be found in, for example, urban farming and dumpster diving. Looking at hunting-gathering practices, then, spurs exciting reflections on ethics, politics, and conflicts; skills, care, and subjectivity;  and ritual, spirituality, and communication. The craft of hunting-gathering, as an ‘art of paying attention’ to diverse actors (Du Plessis, forthcoming), might even reflexively inspire a reconceptualisation of anthropological fieldwork itself.

For this issue of Etnofoor on Hunting-Gathering we welcome papers addressing these or other questions that analyse hunting and gathering through ethnographic fieldwork or methodological, theoretical, or practical perspectives to submit an abstract of no more than 200 words to editors@etnofoor.nl before Monday 14 March, 2022. We also welcome book or literature reviews and creative contributions (photo essays, comics). The deadline for authors of accepted abstracts to submit their full paper is 15 June, 2022.

References

Blaser, Mario. 2009. The Threat of the Yrmo: The Political Ontology of a Sustainable Hunting Program. American Anthropologist 111 (1): 10–20.

Du Plessis, Pierre. Forthcoming. Tracking as Method: Perspectival Sensibilities in a More-than-Human Methods in a Desert of Tracks. in Bubandt, N. et al (eds). Rubberboots Methods in the Anthropocene. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Nadasdy, Paul. 2007. The Gift in the Animal: The Ontology of Hunting and Human–Animal Sociality. American Ethnologist 34 (1): 25–43.

Østmo, Liv and John Law. 2018. Mis/translation, Colonialism, and Environmental Conflict. Environmental Humanities 10 (2): 349–369.

Tsing, Anna. 2015. The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

von Essen, E., & Allen, M. 2020. Killing with kindness: when hunters want to let you know they care. Human dimensions of wildlife 26 (2): 179-195.