Breaking through disciplinary barriers: Human–wildlife interactions and multispecies ethnography
International Journal of Primatology
Springer Verlag for International Primatological Society
Reason for embargo
Currently under an indefinite embargo pending publication by Springer Verlag. 12-month embargo to be applied on publication
One of the main challenges when integrating biological and social perspectives in primatology is overcoming interdisciplinary barriers. Unfamiliarity with subject-specific theory and language, distinct disciplinary-bound approaches to research, and academic boundaries aimed at ‘preserving the integrity’ of subject disciplines can hinder developments in interdisciplinary research. With growing interest in how humans and other primates share landscapes, and recognition of the importance of combining biological and social information to do this effectively, the disparate use of terminology is becoming more evident. To tackle this problem, we dissect the meaning of what the biological sciences term studies in ‘human–wildlife conflict’ or more recently ‘human–wildlife interactions’ and compare it to what anthropology terms ‘multispecies ethnography’. In the biological sciences, human–wildlife interactions are the actions resulting from people and wild animals sharing land-scapes and resources, with outcomes ranging from being beneficial or harmful to one or both species. In the social sciences, human–nonhuman relationships have been explored on a philosophical, analytical and empir-ical level. Building on previous work, we advocate viewing landscapes through an interdisciplinary ‘multi-species lens’ where humans are observed as one of multiple organisms which interact with other species to shape and create environments. To illustrate these interconnections we use the case study of coexistence be-tween people of the Nalu ethnic group and Critically Endangered western chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) at Cantanhez National Park in Guinea-Bissau, to demonstrate how biological and social research approaches can be complementary and can inform conservation initiatives at the human–primate interface. Finally, we discuss how combining perspectives from ethnoprimatology with those from multispecies ethnography can advance the study of ethnoprimatology to aid productive discourse and enhance future interdisciplinary re-search.
The authors were supported by a fellowship from the Centre for Research in Anthropology (CRIA- FCSH/NOVA) to Hannah Parathian; an early career fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust to Mat-thew McLennan; a fellowship and research grant (IF/01128/2014) from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecno-logia (FCT), Portugal, and funding from the Arcus Foundation, to Kimberley Hockings.
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