Pig worlds: understanding porcine multiplicity in the Anthropocene
Panel at Relations and Beyond conference, March 21-23 in Rovaniemi, Finland
Living as co-symbionts with humans for millennia, pigs are highly adaptable beings. Enacted in multiple ways, they are a ‘diaspora’ constituted through diverse social, ecological, and historical relations. There is no single Sus Scrofa kind, rather, pigs are a kaleidoscope of bodies, capacities, identities, and subjectivities, engaged with by humans as meat, game, pests, ecological engineers, homely companions, medical surrogates, and spiritual relatives. They are great disruptors, challenging the moral, ethical, and spatial (b)orders humans devise to differentiate the im/pure, un/desirable, or domestic/wild.
Porcine subjects offer a multifaceted set of human-nonhuman interactions and perspectives that benefit anthropological comparison. Their multiplicity also enables us to articulate the precarity, contradictions, and patchiness of the Anthropocene. Porcine ways of being are dramatically afforded and constrained during this era. While some have proliferated through colonial expansion, climatic transformation, industrial capitalism, and plantation ecologies, others are threatened by these shifting conditions. Pigs are embroiled in contemporary anthropological concerns, such as emergent pathogenic ecologies, destructive global infrastructures, and other-than-human necropolitics.
This session explores the multiplicity of pig worlds, storying their lives and relations, and their limits. Following the generalist tendencies of pigs, contributions unfold in or between forests, farms, cities, abattoirs, laboratories or homes, and reside in the material and spiritual. Thinking through difference, querying hegemonic discourse, reconceptualising their presences in the Anthropocene, the session seeks to probe ways we can understand and reconceptualise such beings, their relations and beyond.
Note: the above image was AI generated with keywords from the panel abstract, plus the name ‘Salvador Dali’