Inhabiting Forest of Dean borderlands: Feral wild boar and dynamic ecologies of memory and place
O’Mahony, K. (2022). Inhabiting Forest of Dean borderlands: Feral wild boar and dynamic ecologies of memory and place. Emotion, Space and Society, 45, 100902.
Abstract: Borderlands are dynamic, fluid spaces where multifarious actors and their relations come together in continual tension. The (re)appearance of (nonhuman) animals can lead to the emergence of novel multispecies borderlands, generated through a variety of affective, emotional and material registers with diverging spatial-temporalities. Situated in the Forest of Dean, England, this paper draws on ethnographic research to consider how the unanticipated (re)appearance of feral wild boar has (re-)configured everyday landscapes in myriad ways. In particular, the focus is on how distinct ecologies of memory and place- weaving through pasts and presents, the material and immaterial, individuals and collectives, humans and nonhumans- are created and shaped by embodied practices, encounters, distributed meanings and temporal change. Amidst uncertainty, the ‘Forest’ borderland is shown to be an indeterminate space, where memory simultaneously disrupts and enriches sensations of belonging and emplacement, and can help negotiate interspecies differences. The paper argues it is important to pay attention to the fluxing, fluid agency of animals and how their everyday human relations (dis)connect heterogenous ecologies of memory and place, especially at a time when multispecies landscapes are undergoing rapid, unexpected and un/intentional change.