Monday, July 23, 2018 | 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Andrea Mubi Brighenti + Andrea Pavoni

Sidney Smith Hall – SS5016 (map)

Urban Animals – Domestic, Stray and Wild


In this presentation, we explore ‘domesticity’ as a social territory defined by the relationship it entertains with the conceptual and ecological space of ‘the wild’. The leading research question can be framed as follows: do these two ecological spaces stand in opposition to each other, or are more subtle relations of co-implication at play? As we enquiry into the domestic and the wild, a conceptual map of notions is drawn which also includes the public, the common, the civilised and the barbarian. The case study illustrating this dense intermingling of categories is offered by Daniza, a wild brown bear introduced in the Brenta Natural Park on the Italian Alps in the 2000s, who repeatedly came into unexpected, accidental contacts with humans. Declared a ‘dangerous animal’, Daniza was controversially killed by the public authorities in 2014, officially in an attempt to capture her with anaesthetising bullets, but in a way that still leaves doubts about the degree of voluntariness of the killing. We suggest that the domestic and the wild constitute two semiotic-ecological domains constantly stretching into each other without any stable or even clear boundary line, and we elaborate a series of corollaries for studying animals in urban contexts.

Keywords: Bears; Domesticity; Domestication; Urban Wildness; Alpine Ecology; Territorial Governance; Animal Advocacy



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