Elisabeth Luggauer - Thinking an urban space with it’s nonhuman dwellers

Colloque Interdisciplinaire Et International 2017 - Les Etudes Animales Sont-Elles Bonnes A Penser ? 8-10 nov 2017

Elisabeth Luggauer, Université de Graz

Titre : Thinking an urban space with it’s nonhuman dwellers. On a multispecies ethnography on the relations between humans and (straying) dogs in Podgorica

Résumé : This paper presents aspects of a multispecies ethnography on relations between humans and (straying) dogs in the urban culture of Podgorica (MNE). It focuses on the everyday reciprocal practices of taking and arranging space between the actors of this interspecies relations and dicusses the cultural construction of these human-dog relations by the postsocialist, europeanised urban culture.

The actor-centered approach of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology is predominantly reduced on human actors. As a result Urban Anthropology is concentrated on human inhabitants when it defines a city as ‚the sum of it’s inhabitants‘ (Johanna Rolshoven) and is leaving for example animal actors aside. The various impacts of nonhuman city dwellers for the specific culture of urban spaces has been shown already by European Ethnologists/Cultural Anthropologists Beate Binder and Klara Löffler for example.

Cultural Anthropological concepts like anthropology beyond humanity, anthropology of life or multispecies ethnography assume that a ‚human exceptionalism‘ misses significant aspects of human everyday culture. Following this critique and the direction of Binder and Löffler, I conceptualize the urban space of Podgorica (MNE) in my PhD-project as shared lived space (Henri Lefebvre, Edward Soja) of human and (straying) dog-inhabitants. Based on that my paper examines how thinking urban cultures with nonhuman actors enables a deeper, thicker understanding of the special characteristics, the habitus of every different urban culture.