Article: Entanglements—Intimacy and Nonhuman Ethics (2014)

Drawing on ethnographic material from the Norwegian Arctic, this article explores issues of specificity, encounter, and emplacement in human-animal relations through the lens of modernizing indigenous reindeer pastoralism in the region. In turn, the main sections of the argument examine three things: first, the changing technological context of indigenous herding practice, focusing on the impact of mechanization and the emergence of “roundup corrals” in the second half of the twentieth century; second, the distinct modalities of specificity at work in human-reindeer relations, exemplified particularly in practices of enumeration; and third, how ongoing controversies over supplementary feeding bring into view a herding ethic of “liminality” that cultivates distance as a precondition for maintaining the autonomy and independence of the “semi-domesticated” reindeer—opening up the possibility of reframing apparent neglect (at least partially) as a practice of care. In closing, some questions are raised concerning nonhuman ethics at the intersection between visibility, presence, and encounter.


Reinert, Hugo. 2014. Entanglements—Intimacy and Nonhuman Ethics. Society & Animals 22(1), 42-56