Chapter

Elephant–Human <i>Dandi</i>

Paul G. Keil

in Conflict, Negotiation, and Coexistence

Published in print October 2016 | ISBN: 9780199467228
Published online November 2016 | e-ISBN: 9780199087570 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199467228.003.0012
Elephant–Human Dandi

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Exploring the possibilities of ethnoelephantology, this chapter considers an approach to human–elephant conflict and coexistence that is constrained neither by the conventions of conservation biology nor by social science. It examines how humans and elephants in Assam construct, navigate, and share space through a focus on pathways variously constituted and sustained through the complementary activities of each species. Considering humans and elephants not only as ecosystem engineers who configure biophysical space but also as world-makers who make inhabited space meaningful, it challenges conventional approaches to human–elephant conflict, typically predicated upon ideas of confrontation at the boundaries of species-specific spaces. In a world of fragmented habitats, mutually constituted landscapes, and shared space, such ideas, rooted in problematic oppositions between nature and culture, human and animal, are revealed as deficient for understanding the challenges of interspecies cohabitation.

Keywords: ethnoelephantology; human–elephant conflict; coexistence; cohabitation; pathways; mutuality; Assam

Chapter.  11370 words. 

Subjects: Asian History ; Environmental History

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