Elephant-human dandi: how humans and elephants move through the fringes of forest and village

Paul G. Keil

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Exploring the possibilities of ethnoelephantology, this chapter considers an approach to human–elephant conflict and coexistence that is constrained neither by the conventions of conservation biology nor by social science. It examines how humans and elephants in Assam construct, navigate, and share space through a focus on pathways variously constituted and sustained through the complementary activities of each species. Considering humans and elephants not only as ecosystem engineers who configure biophysical space but also as world-makers who make inhabited space meaningful, it challenges conventional approaches to human–elephant conflict, typically predicated upon ideas of confrontation at the boundaries of species-specific spaces. In a world of fragmented habitats, mutually constituted landscapes, and shared space, such ideas, rooted in problematic oppositions between nature and culture, human and animal, are revealed as deficient for understanding the challenges of interspecies cohabitation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConflict, negotiation, and coexistence
Subtitle of host publicationrethinking human-elephant relations in South Asia
EditorsPiers Locke, Jane Buckingham
Place of PublicationNew Delhi, India
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9780199087570
ISBN (Print)9780199467228
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • ethnoelephantology
  • human-elephant conflict
  • coexistence
  • cohabitation
  • pathways
  • mutuality
  • Assam


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