The Trojan Boar: Biosecuritization and/of Hunting in Europe

On 16 April 2019 Ludek Broz gave an invited lecture at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Hamburg University, entitled: The Trojan Boar: Biosecuritization and/of Hunting in Europe

In 2018 Polish authorities announced a plan to build one of the Europe’s longest fences to protect the country’s Eastern border from unwanted migrants and a particular highly contagious disease they might potentially carry. The intent at the first glance reminds of president Trump’s plan for a wall on the US Mexican border or already built Hungarian fence at the Serbian and Croatian borders, yet there is an important difference. The disease that Polish and other European authorities fear is African Swine Fever (ASF) and the unwanted migrants are not fellow humans but wild boars from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. This is not the only fence in preparation. A similar, though much shorter fence has already been approved by the Danish parliament. Here the objective is to secure the country from the German boars.
Hunting has featured high among the classical anthropological topics and focus on it led to numerous theoretical and methodological innovations in the field, from the exploration of hunter-gatherer societies nested in the natural sciences paradigm to the recent phenomenological return to animism as an analytical category. However, most these works are based on fieldwork conducted in the Amazon, Africa, Siberia, etc.; anthropologists have comparatively less frequently explored European hunting and game management. In this paper I will argue that focus on wild boar hunting in Europe is not only interesting for understanding this specific practice of multi-species coexistence. Rather, it seems that the “Trojan boar”, the feared virus carrier, contributes toward the resurrection of the old-new borders just as human migrants, eroding the Schengen space of free movement on the way. Hence, I will propose to use the “Trojan boar” as a powerful heuristic instrument to gain insight into the emerging biosecurity regime that progressively influences lives of Europeans, hunters and non-hunters alike.

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