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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 105-118

Making and Unmaking the Endangered in India (1880-Present): Understanding Animal-Criminal Processes

Delhi School of Social Work, University of Delhi, Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Varun Sharma
Delhi School of Social Work, University of Delhi, Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.161229

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The concerns of the present paper emerge from the single basic question of whether the available histories of the tiger are comprehensive enough to enable an understanding of how this nodular species comprises/contests the power dynamics of the present. Starting with this basic premise, this paper retells a series of events which go to clarify that a nuanced understanding of the manner in which a species serves certain political purposes is not possible by tracking the animal alone. A discourse on endangerment has beginnings in the body and being of species that are remarkably cut off from the tiger-the elephant, birds, and the rhino (and man if we might add)-and develops with serious implications for power, resource appropriation, and criminality, over a period of time, before more directly recruiting the tiger itself. If we can refer to this as the intermittent making and unmaking of the endangered, it is by turning to the enunciations of Michel Foucault that we try to canvas a series of events that can be described as animal-criminal processes. The role of such processes in the construction of endangerment, the structuring of space, and shared ideas of man-animal relations is further discussed in this paper.

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