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Title: Clan of the fox? : 'hunting' subculture in a rural Welsh farming community
Author: Hurn, Samantha
ISNI:       0000 0003 7143 743X
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis considers the relationships between the human and non-human animals involved in foxhunting, an activity traditionally dismissed as 'sportive' (and therefore highly immoral) by external commentators. However, in light of five years of fieldwork which involved riding to hounds, working as an agricultural laborer, and breeding, exhibiting and dealing 'livestock' as a member of a farmers' hunt in a rural community in West Wales, I suggest that the foxhunting enacted in this specific context can be regarded as a form of subsistence hunting, even though the quarry itself is not eaten. I argue that once the emotional and embodied experiences of the mounted followers of the hunt in question are understood, their motivations for participating in this activity can be articulated as responses to four key questions what constitutes an animal, what constitutes community, what does it mean to be 'Welsh' and what constitutes normalcy In order to appreciate the importance of these questions, and formulate my own responses alongside those of my informants, I had to experience this way of life in its entirety. This entailed coming to terms with the inescapable fact that while non-human animals were integral to my informants' day-to-day existence, animal death was a more significant reality. Viewed in these terms, 'hunting' took on new meaning, as the duality of life and death in the countryside was negotiated in a sacrificial ritual, and local Welsh farmers reasserted their individual and collective identities in response to external threats. My informants' narratives are interwoven with an account of my own reflexive 'journey' from staunch 'anti' to tolerant sympathizer, an outcome which I had certainly not anticipated, and which makes the conclusions all the more resonant in the current political climate, where 'hunting' is not only widely perceived as 'deviant' but is now also a criminal activity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available