Hunting the Unruly Pigs of the New Wild: an anthropology of recreational hunting (FERALHUNT)
Call no. 02_20_079 for International Mobility of Researchers - MSCA-IF IV, OP VVV, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports
CZ.02.2.69/0.0/0.0/20_079/0017525; 2021–2022

Principal Investigator: Paul G. Keil

Globally, wild pigs are thriving in connection with human activity. This project is an anthropological study of recreational pig hunting and its role in the material and symbolic proliferation of feral pigs in Australia. Recreational hunting and feral pigs are subjects yet to be examined through a multispecies ethnographic lens, despite the novel questions they raise regarding nature/culture binaries, nonhuman agency, and ecological change. These questions are also relevant to Europe as it grapples with African Swine Fever and the re-emergence of wild boar.

This project’s aim is to analyse pig hunting in Australia as a form of human-nonhuman co-existence, with attention paid to how porcine agency and identity emerges from this relation. By conducting in-depth ethnographic fieldwork, engaging in inter-disciplinary collaboration with animal scientists, and deploying a multi-methodological toolkit, this project asks: How is hunting revaluating the feral pig’s place in the native environment? How does hunting culture shape nonhuman ways-of-being in multifaceted ways? And how do feral pigs provoke anxieties about an ungovernable more-than-human agency?

This project will be done in close collaboration with a social scientific team based in the Czech Republic that examines people’s interaction with wild boar across EU states. Australian findings will engage in comparative analysis with European research, yielding additional insights on the social factors shaping European stakeholder's engagement with boar. Mobility is necessary for this comparative exchange, and will augment the impacts of ethnography at a cross-cultural and global level, and create the opportunity for emergent conceptual and methodological innovation. The host organisation will complement and build upon the researcher's existing academic and professional skillset. Czech expertise and multi-disciplinary training will expand the researcher's methodological capacity to research human-animal relations.


The project Hunting the Unruly Pigs of the New Wild: an anthropology of recreational hunting [FERALHUNT] is co-funded by the EU.