Anthropology of mutualism

Natasha Fijn*, Catie Gressier, Muhammad A. Kavesh

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)


    What might anthropology offer to our understanding of mutualistic relations? In making sense of these interspecies interactions, which, despite some costs, are ultimately beneficial to each partner species, zoological approaches operate at the level of populations on an adaptive scale. Anthropologists bring focus on individual actors and their subjective experiences within far more condensed temporospatial ethnographic timescales. This guest editorial brings a multispecies anthropological approach into dialogue with zoological understandings of mutualism. It examines the practical and theoretical potential of mutuality to make sense of relations of domestication. Materialistic profit and market-oriented forms of engagement in the domestic sphere are often detrimental to more-than-human communities. The persistence of different kinds of mutual co-existences, as shown in different forms of care of orphaned animals in Mongolia, Pakistan and Australia, offers an alternative and perhaps more hopeful model of more-than-human engagement in the Anthropocene.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-2
    Number of pages2
    JournalAnthropology Today
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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