18. 1. 2023

Reversible pigs: an infraspecies ethnography of wild boars in Barcelona



Citation: Arregui, Aníbal G. 2023. “ Reversible pigs.” American Ethnologist. 1– 14.

Abstract. The idea of “species” is the main unit for representing ecological relations. But what would an ecology look like if we started by tracing its relations from below the species threshold? By deploying an infraspecies ethnography, I show how, in suburban Barcelona, human and wild boar individuals relate in personal, creative ways, and how in doing so, they also reshape their quotidian ecologies from the bottom up. Departing from species-level imaginaries of wildlife managers, suburban residents cope with wild boars not only as idiosyncratic specimens but also as reversible beings: pigs that are simultaneously “wild” and “tame,” “rural” and “urban,” “pest” and “neighbor.” Shifting the attention from relations between coherent species to the situated encounters between singular specimens unveils how individuals weave reversible relations, remake ecologies, and navigate the uncertainty of emerging human-animal intimacies.