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ID 49062
file
title alternative
The Kuay People Becoming “Mahouts” in Contemporary Thailand: Self-Transformation and Asymmetry in the Contact Zone Between Human and Animal
creator
Oishi, Tomoko
abstract
This study reconsiders the mahout-elephant relationship, which existing studies have assumed to be dichotomous, to discuss selftransformation and asymmetric power within the trans-species relationship, and adds the reversibility of power as a new dimension of Donna Haraway’s concept of the contact zone [Haraway, 2008]. To that end, this paper describes the process through which the Kuay people become mahouts, their lives together with elephants, within the sphere of their relationship with elephants.
In t he Taklang v illage, t he K uay p eople, who are known as skilled mahouts, define their mahout role as that of understanding elephants and negotiating with them. The Kuay do not become mahouts by applying for the job; instead, they establish relationships with individual elephants through face-to-face contact and thereby acquire the skills necessary to communicate with them. Likewise, the elephants also acquire skills to understand the instructions of their mahouts through training. As a result of these processes, both mahout and elephant internalize the ways to communicate with their partner.
The mahout-elephant relationship includes asymmetric power, through which humans control the life and death of these animals. However, physical differences can reverse that asymmetric power. Thus, mahouts and elephants communicate with each other by using the takho(hook), language, and their body. This study therefore goes on to demonstrate how humans live together with animals in a contact zone, characterized by self-transformation and reversible asymmetry.
description
本研究の一部は、公益信託澁澤民族学振興基金による「2019年度大学院生等に対する研究活動助成」、及び文部科学省博士課程教育リーディングプログラム広島大学「たおやかで平和な共生社会創生プログラム」による補助を受けたものである。
journal title
The journal of social and cultural studies on Asia
issue
Issue 21
start page
113
end page
143
date of issued
2020-03-31
publisher
アジア社会文化研究会
issn
1346-1567
ncid
language
jpn
nii type
Departmental Bulletin Paper
HU type
Departmental Bulletin Papers
DCMI type
text
format
application/pdf
text version
publisher
department
Graduate School of Integrated Arts and Sciences
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