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Hefting onto place: intersecting lives of humans and sheep on Scottish hills landscape

By J. Gray

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This paper analyzes the phenomenon called hefting of sheep onto the landscape of hill sheep farms in the Scottish Borders. It is based upon data collected during extended periods of ethnographic fieldwork beginning in 1981 and continuing to the present. Hefting is the term used by sheep farmers for the natural tendency of hill sheep to graze, remain, and bond onto specific areas of the landscape without the need for fencing. The herding practices of hill sheep farms appropriate hefting in flock management and breeding. The analysis of hefting makes two contributions to understanding human-animal relations. First, because the of the centrality of territorial bonding, hefting makes explicit that we should always be ready to include a third dimension - place and emplacement - in understanding human-animal relations. Second, drawing on Haraway's concept of "becoming with," hefting and herding demonstrate the fundamentally relational character of human-animal-place relations.

Publication Title Anthrozoos
Volume 27
Issue 2
Pages 219-234
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.2752/175303714x13903827487520
Language English
Author Address Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Analysis
  2. Animal husbandry
  3. Animal production
  4. Animals
  5. Anthrozoology
  6. Bovidae
  7. Family
  8. Farms
  9. Humans
  10. Livestock farming
  11. Mammals
  12. Men
  13. peer-reviewed
  14. Primates
  15. Ruminants
  16. Sheep
  17. ungulates
  18. vertebrates
  19. Wool producing animals
  1. peer-reviewed