Other-than-humans and the remaking of the social

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Abstract

This article takes its starting-point from an elderly Bardi woman's observation that elders ‘used to frighten’ younger generations with stories about various spirit beings. The beings she referred to are a group of malevolent beings inhabiting particular locations in her country, located in the northwest Kimberley region of Western Australia. Beginning with her observation that this is something that ‘used’ to happen, I consider the relationship between persons and different kinds of spirit beings amidst historical impetus for change. Political, economic, ecological, technological, and other impacts have occurred within the shifting context of progressive engagements with Western colonialism, capitalism, and the market economy, with implications for local ontologies. I suggest that these spirit beings are becoming less differentiated and consider the implications of this in terms of personhood and the constitution of the social, arguing that the disappearance of some of these beings is suggestive of a contraction of temporal and spatial extensions of personhood, with implications for relations with country. © Royal Anthropological Institute 2018
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-329
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018

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