Social relations on the move: Evenki architecture of domestication

Lead Author Vladimir, Davydov
Institution Contact Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera), Russian Academy of sciences. 199034, St. Petersburg, Russia, Universitetskaia nab. 3, MAE RAN (Kunstkamera)
Theme Theme 3: Local and Traditional Knowledge
Session Name 3.1 Arctic Human-Rangifer Communities: Vulnerability, Resilience, Adaption to Global Changes
Datetime Wed, Sep 14, 2016 03:40 PM - 03:50 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text It is doubtful whether domestication is a process which can be linked with certain place. Evenki reindeer herders rarely stay in one particular place for a long time; reindeer, dogs and people move together. At the same time these movements imply periodic returns to the same places where reindeer herders actively use different kinds of self-built objects such as fences, gates, dwellings, storage platforms, sheds. They employ a number of small-size constructions which are, nevertheless, play an important role in the process of human-animal interaction. These are feeding-racks, where they put salt, different kinds of poles and stakes for binding animals, dog shelters and frames for smoking smudges. At the same time constructions are not just practical tools for completing everyday tasks. Rather they help to frame certain social relations. These relations are always spatial. Classical ethnographic accounts often represented architecture as something rigid rather than flexible. At the same time architecture exists in the context of life. People and animals (both wild and domesticated) are always in contact with structures, they constantly change their shape, condition and location. These objects are always in use in the context of human-animal interaction. In this sense architecture is full of life; it is a part of environment of humans and animals. By providing examples from the recent fieldwork among Zabaikal Evenkis this presentation aims to discuss how does Evenki reindeer herders’ architecture-in-the-landscape build and transform social relations between human and non-human persons such as animals, master spirits, predators and landscape.
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