Andrew Mitchell, Doktorand, Socialantropologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet

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, 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, as well as contemplate rather more traditional approaches to anthropological knowledge from the past. Accordingly, by considering the materiality of human wolf encounters, and how effects are recognised and differences emerge, this analysis highlights that some practices, aided by empathy and embodiment, facilitate a sociality that operates across species boundaries.

Granskare: Cecilia Åsberg, Professor i genus, natur, kultur, Tema Genus, Institutionen för TEMA, Linköpings universitet.