Hunting, foraging and the pursuit of animal ontologies

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Climate change and the ecological crisis are fueling growing critiques of human exceptionalism within calls to reconfigure human-nature relations. This paper explores how some self-provisioning hunters and foragers in Victoria, Australia are invoking animal ontologies within their attempts to decenter the human and create sustainable, emplaced lifestyles and diets. For this cohort, hands-on food provisioning serves as a means of re-constructing the human as animal through the embodied physicality of food procurement practices, and the multispecies engagements and intimate understandings of local ecosystems these practices entail. Meat eating remains a complex ethical conundrum, however, and I examine how their conceptualizations of the human as animal serve also to justify their killing for food. This is evident in self-provisioning hunters’ construction of the embodied human as both predator and prey and through their desires for reciprocity through the eventual return of their own bodies to the food chain within their local ecosystems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-121
Number of pages21
JournalFood and Foodways
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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