We are please to announce that Luděk Brož and Aníbal Arregui’s papers were accepted to the Joint Biennial Conference of the Slovak Association of Social Anthropologists (SASA) and Czech Associations for Social Anthropology (CASA) titled: Vulnerability and Resilience: Adaptive Strategies and Global Change. The conference will take place in Bratislava on 9 and 10 November 2018. Hope to see you there!
Unraveling “El Manolo”: Resilient Socialities of Wild-Boars in the Periphery of Barcelona
Aníbal G. Arregui
“El Manolo” is the name given to a particularly intrusive wild boar that used to steal food and intimidate people in Les Planes, a peripheral neighborhood of Barcelona. The local stories about El Manolo can therefore unravel some significant anthropological nuances regarding how wild boars sociality was conceived of by locals and enacted by El Manolo itself. However, it is difficult to determine whether all intrusions into “urban live” attributed to El Manolo were actually performed by “him”, for a number of other similar specimens could have been responsible for some of the conflictive encounters narrated by neighbors. Also, many human- boars encounters were likewise narrated in terms of sympathy and mutuality. Furthermore, it turns out that “Manolo” is an extended Spanish nick-name for men (a version of “Manuel”, with enhanced virility), yet El Manolo was, according to local biologists, a female.
In this presentation I will elaborate on a series of relational paradoxes originated in the sharing of a living space by wild boars and humans in the periphery of Barcelona. The overarching argument is that “urban” boars are not as “wild” or “individualistic” as their taxonomical names may indicate. I will suggest that despite the local identifications of “El Manolo” contain a wrong gender attribution and inflate the legend of animals´ aggressive character, they also capture the resilient sociality of wild boars that are able to establish relations of all signs (negative and positive) well beyond the behavioral and ecological outlines imputed to their species.
Boar Wars: Necropolitics of Resilience and Vulnerability in the Time of African Swine Fever
On 15 March 2018 the Czech ministry of agriculture proposed a reward of 2000 CZK for every wild boar killed in the country. The situation is somewhat akin to the introduction of the 1786 hunting act that made boars animal non grata in Czech lands and led to their local extinction by early 1800s. The current intervention is meant to lead to dramatic reduction of thriving wild pig population, feared for potentially spreading the African Swine Fever (ASF) to domestic pig flock. Interestingly, the move is intended to protect also the wild boar as a species, as the head of hunters‘ association argues – too dense boar population will be the first victim of the ASF pandemics. Focusing ethnographically on the unfolding case, the paper will explore how wild pigs’resilience, knitted of their cleverness, vitality, opportunism, adaptability and fertility, is conceptualised by various human stakeholders as, paradoxically, also the major source of their vulnerability. It seems that the exceptional situation of ASF outbreak exposes European game management as in principle necropolitical practice—formalised effort to acquire power and capacity to dictate who may live and who must die (Mbembé)—informed by understanding interspecies coexistence as structured by a set of resiliences and vulnerabilities, animal and human alike.