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Article by Vladimir and Elena Davydov in the new issue of the Etudes Inuit Studies

An article by MAE RAS researchers Vladimir and Elena Davydov was published in the new issue (No. 45 (1-2)) of the Etudes Inuit Studies journal (Laval University, Quebec, Canada). The issue is entirely devoted to the issues of ethnographic and anthropological research in Chukotka and was called Tchoukotka: Comprendre le passé, les pratiques contemporaines et les perceptions du présent / Chukotka: Understanding the Past, Contemporary Practices, and Perceptions of the Present.

In the article Reindeer Slaughter: Meat and Taste Production in Chukotka, Vladimir and Elena Davydov conceptualized the ethnographic materials collected during the 2017-2019 expeditions in the Iultinsky district of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug.

The slaughter of the deer is a decisive moment in the transformation of a living being into "dead" food. In their article, young scientists prove that the attitude towards the animal at the time of slaughter and butchering of the carcass ultimately largely determines the future taste of meat. To reveal this situation, they compare the practices of slaughtering in the tundra and the deer slaughterhouse in the village of Amguema.

“By comparing human-animal relationships in different landscapes,” the researchers explain, “we show, first, how personal relationships are created and maintained between people and the deer during the traditional slaughter, and how they subsequently transform into a relationship between man and food. Secondly, we contrast the tundra perception of reindeer and meat with that which is reproduced in the context of a slaughterhouse, where neither animals nor the products obtained from them have close personal ties with people, turning, as a result, into an impersonal commodity, devoid of multiple, both taste and symbolic, characteristics. “Wrong”, from the perspective of local residents, relationship between man and deer during the slaughter of a commercial herd leads to unnatural production of food, which ultimately changes its taste properties.