Becoming Bovine and Being Haunted: Herder-Bovine Relationships in South India

In: Society & Animals
S. Vignesh Manipal Academy of Higher Education Manipal India
National Institute of Advanced Studies, IIS Campus Bengaluru India

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This paper concerns itself with the study of changing dynamics of herder-bovine relationships in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu. By exploring the affective lives of Tamil-speaking herders of South India in their interaction with native Pulikulam breed bovines and foreign bred milch cows, this paper maps the sensuous ways in which these three beings make and unmake each other. At a more abstract level, this paper intends to improvise dialogue between new materialist and deconstructive techniques by exploring Karen Barad’s conception of intra-action, and Derrida’s hauntology in the context of human-animal relationships. The central argument this paper exposes is that our nuanced moments of interactions with animals are already mediated by visceral absences which we fail to take into consideration.

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