Tracing Wolves: Materiality, Effect and Difference

As wolves are seldom seen in Scandinavia, Tracing Wolves utilises the ‘trace’ as both a theoretical and methodological tool to aid comprehension of what a wolf is and what a wolf does. Consequently, this enquiry examines human-wolf practices, such as tracking, genetic analysis, GPS tracking, hunting, and wolf necropsies, via which Scandinavian wolves in Sweden manifest. It is in this respect, through the traces wolves leave – like tracks in the snow, a steaming scat, the remains of a recent kill, GPS data or genetic material – that humans come to know wolves. Furthermore, this study also employs the ‘trace’ as a way to navigate through the complexities of material-semiotics and post-human approaches to method and theory, and contemplates rather more traditional approaches to anthropological knowledge. Accordingly, by considering the materiality of human-wolf encounters and how effects are comprehended and differences emerge, this analysis highlights that some of theses practices, aided by empathy and embodiment, facilitate a sociality that operates across species boundaries.

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