Embodied morality and performed relationships

Authored by: Douglas Ezzy

The Handbook of Contemporary Animism

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  September  2014

Print ISBN: 9781844657117
eBook ISBN: 9781315728964
Adobe ISBN: 9781317544500

10.4324/9781315728964.ch15

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Abstract

“What matters to wombats?” I still remember clearly the first few months when I began to contemplate this question, and the closely related question of “What matters to hedgehogs?” (G. Harvey 2005a). What I remember about these months of contemplation is a feeling. I felt awkward. The question felt “wrong”. This feeling of wrongness did not arise because of any logical inconsistency between the question and other ideas I have about the world. Rather, the sense of “wrongness” was more like the feeling I have when I use a word in a grammatically incorrect way. I cannot explicitly articulate many of the grammatical rules of contemporary Australian English, but I know how to write grammatically correct sentences. The question “What matters to wombats?” felt problematic for me, as an English-speaking Australian of mongrel European heritage, because habit and deeply ingrained etiquettes prohibit such questions in the same way that they proscribe incorrect grammar.

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