"Los toros guapos" : "good-looking bulls", animal life, ethics and professional know-how on an Andalusian bull-breeding estate
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This thesis take the form of an ethnographic exploration of a bull-breeding estate called Partido de Resina (formerly Pablo Romero) in the countryside near Seville in Andalusia. The estate, founded in 1885, produces fighting bulls for taurine events in Southern France, Spain and Portugal. At the heart of the thesis is the life cycle of the fighting animals, every chapter being anchored to a particular point in the bull-breeding calendar and the lives of the stock. Each chapter draws out specific qualities of the world of the bulls from the perspective of Partido de Resina, rooting the bulls and their people in a wider Spanish and Andalusian landscape and history, with a focus on technical know-how and everyday ethics after the 2008 financial crisis. The professionals who care for the Partido de Resina bulls, cows, and calves are the human protagonists of this project; their working routines, hopes, concerns, and stories described through their interactions with the animals which they look after. The core anthropological argument in the thesis is to show how different ethnographically salient forms of life emerge on and around the estate, sometimes weighted towards individual animals, sometimes towards bits of taurine bodies, or breeds, types, lineages, cohorts, and other groupings of stock. The varied, dynamic presence of animal life is contextualised in the literature of the 'animal turn' in anthropology, which has drawn non- human life into the ethnographic foreground. A case is made for a nuanced and contextual ethnographic attention to animal life and interiority as it emerges in the field, without an a priori emphasis on animal personhood or subjectivity. In foregrounding the qualities and concerns encountered and worked through during both routine livestock maintenance and extraordinary, definitive events like bullfights, the emergent, multiple character of taurine forms of existence become apparent.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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