Davydova E., Davydov V. Production of Venison Tastes: Practices of Animal Slaughter in the Tundra and in a Slaughterhouse in Chukotka

Elena Davydova – Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0002-9299-7551
E-mail: elenav0202@gmail.com

Vladimir Davydov – Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation
ORCID: 0000-0003-2738-4609
E-mail: davydov.kunstkamera@gmail.com


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ABSTRACT. This article conceptualizes ethnographic materials related to reindeer slaughter and collected in 2017–2019 in the Iul’tinskii region of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. The slaughter of an animal is a decisive moment in the transformation of a living creature into “dead” food. In this regard, consideration of this process will allow understanding how this transformation proceeds. The article argues that the attitude towards the animal at the time of its slaughter and butchering ultimately determines the taste of the future meat. To reveal this statement, we compare slaughter practices in the tundra and in a reindeer slaughterhouse. By comparing the relationship between people and animals in different landscapes, we show, firstly, how personal relationships between people and reindeer are created and maintained during the traditional slaughter, and, secondly, how they are subsequently transformed into a relationship between people and food. The “abnormal relationship” between a human and a reindeer during the slaughter of a marketable herd leads to the improper production of food, which ultimately changes its taste.


KEYWORDS: Arctic, Chukotka, infrastructure, slaughterhouse, reindeer husbandry, animal slaughter, human-reindeer relationship, food anthropology


DOI 10.31250/2618-8619-2021-2(12)-95-103
УДК 397.4(571.511)



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