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Ph Position Anthropology of Herders-Animals Relationships

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

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General information

Reference : UMR7186-ERIGAR-001
Workplace : NANTERRE
Date of publication : Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Scientific Responsible name : Eric Garine Wichatitsky
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 October 2020
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

General Research Context

Recent ecological and social transformations have not been conducive to the maintenance of societies that subsist on extensive livestock farming. However, the members of these societies, which are ontologically multispecific, are perpetuated thanks to their spatial mobility, the flexibility of their economic strategies, butalso because of the precision of the perpetual rearrangements of the relations between humans and their livestock. It is the knowledge of various orders of diversity that appears to be the main key to understanding contemporary pastoral logics. In addition to knowledge of the heterogeneity of ecosystems and of the modes of relations between herders and with members of other groups, it is the diversity of livestock itself that appears to be particularly important today, and one that it has been little studied.
While it is an essentially a genetic conception of the diversity of domestic animals that dominates agronomic knowledge, there is a lack of scientific knowledge of local knowledge relating to heredity and local selection. However, the composition of resilient herds is not solely a matter of genetic management, but is based on a set of dimensions that are usually mobilised by breeders: social behaviour of the animals, knowledge acquired by the animals themselves and largely transmitted from human to animal, animal to animal and probably from animal to human. This is an essential dimension of the commonplace, often ancient and always renewed, practice of self-subsistence farmers and their co-habitating livestock.

Expected doctoral research

The doctoral research programme in anthropology of pastoral societies GEOMOUT focuses on three aspects that will have to be addressed in an original ethnographic work.
1) What do humans and livestock know about themselves and their environments and how do they learn it?
2) What are the perceived, and used, changes in the spatial heterogeneity of the ecosystems visited?
3) What is the role of building social networks among humans and with animals in contemporary adaptations of pastoral communities?

Work Context

The doctoral research programme is part of the scientific environment of the PASTODIV programme (ANR JcJc 19_CE32-0004) and the GRD RESODIV (INEE: 2034): a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research collective dedicated to the comparative analysis of livestock diversity management systems in five main study areas (Mongolia; Kyrgyzstan; India; Chad; Niger) as well as to the ethological study and statistical analysis of social networks.The funded thesis will create a sixth research field in the comparative programme, preferably in the mountainous areas of Europe or the Caucasus.
Long-term ethnographic work (several months) with shepherd/herders will make it possible to document the key points, in their eyes, of the characteristics and behaviours of the individuals in a herd for its optimal use of the territories. It is on the basis of this update of the zootechnical ethology of the interested parties that the protocol for the systematic and quantified observation of behaviours will be developed thanks to the contribution of ethologists specialising in the study of interactions between individuals of different species; this protocol will be implemented in collaboration with the doctoral student.

Constraints and risks

The candidate will carry out ethnographic research work, in long-term immersion, in the often precarious conditions of the societies observed.

Additional Information

- The candidate should hold a Master's degree in social and cultural anthropology based on ethnographic fieldwork.
- The candidate should have a good/solid knowledge of ecological anthropology and anthropology of human-animal relationships.
- The candidate will have to be autonomous to create the conditions for ethnographic work in a pastoral society (prior knowledge of the envisaged society would be appreciated).
- The candidate must have competence in linguistics and in the language of the company being studied.
- Ability to work in a multidisciplinary team
- Written and spoken academic English.

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