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  • Att kontextualisera det oartikulerade: Om vargar och hur vi lyssnar till dem

    Karin Dirke

    Chapter from the book: Bergwik, S et al. 2022. Konsten att kontextualisera: Om historisk förståelse och meningsskapande.


    Contextualizing the unarticulated: On wolves, and how we may listen to them

    The theoretical discussions within human-animal studies provide us with the incentive to ascribe agency to animals. The problem is finding adequate methods to do so, especially within history. Animals neither speak nor write, and the traces they leave in historical sources are scarce and difficult to understand. We need to consult knowledge from other fields, such as zoology and ethology, and actively use an interdisciplinary approach, in order to access information about animals in history. However, the question remains how it is possible for the historian to interpret agency which is not articulated in the sources. Using a small nineteenth-century news item about a wolf as example, I demonstrate how much information can be extracted when the source is read against various backgrounds. In the chapter I argue that by contextualizing sources creatively and not interpreting them in a prefixed way, the historian can approach animal agency in history. I discuss how different ways of contextualizing change the interpretation and thereby suggest a method to access animal agency in historical sources.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Dirke, K. 2022. Att kontextualisera det oartikulerade: Om vargar och hur vi lyssnar till dem. In: Bergwik, S et al (eds.), Konsten att kontextualisera. Stockholm: Stockholm University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.16993/bbt.i

    This is an Open Access chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (unless stated otherwise), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Copyright is retained by the author(s).

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    Published on April 12, 2022


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