Reply To: Mon 14 Apr: The Perception of the Environment

Author Replies # Posted on April 15, 2014 at 16:07

Ellen Lindblom
Ingold seminar 2014-04-14

I am both bewildered and intrigued by Ingolds thoughts. I regard his ideas as a springboard for new analyzes – to give inspiration and to challenge ordinary mind paths of scholars.
I linger on Ingolds suggestion on a relational model replacing the genealogy model. I understand why he wants to dismiss the genealogy model – it has done a lot of harm in the name of the national state. Still I don’t think Ingolds model is enough. It even has built in danger according to me.
The relational and the genealogy model have both pros and cons within them and it all comes down to practical implementation in the end. I therefore argue for coordination between these two theoretical systems. In the relational model there is no linearity, everything is intervened; landscape, humans, animals, the trees and the wind. This continuous interaction between everything in the world – is also a sign of life. Thus life is created through continuous movement in the landscape.
Ingold argues that history and culture doesn’t exist in the mind but in the entanglement between things in the world, made by reproducing actions, following paths that have been used before. The same goes for memories which are made through activity and movement and doesn’t exist before the action. Thus action creates a feeling; e.g. when you look at a picture of a familiar landscape you have muscular memory of how it feels to be within that certain landscape, how it sounds and how it smell.
The danger I see with Ingolds relational model is that indigenous people get fixed in space whereas in a genealogical which is disconnected from the landscape (in an ideal democratic world) would give indigenous people power of having a culture and be indigenous if they want were they want, even when moving from their traditional land. The moving should obviously not be forced or suggested by the state or people in power. I think the practical implementation of the genealogical model is what has been wrong not the actual model per se. When the relational model gives possible kinship with everything you interact with in the world the genealogical model look on biological ancestry. Used right, both models can have good outcomes – we know that genes affect us but also that we through our surroundings can change DNA. Action and memories also create paths in our mind and not only in the landscape. To have kinship with “everything” gives freedom and choices and that it is a good thing. Being related to people and the environment surrounding the individual also means relationship with the same and this could imply a care for the surrounding and a social context for the individual. The ones who now their ancestors in a genealogical way can also unfold a world worth knowing about them were each person is not fixed in space and time, just being dots on a genealogical tree. We can learn something about ourselves even if we not live in our ancestral land. The mind gives us power to move from a landscape – and make new paths in our minds and as well as in the landscape.