Dingo Belonging: Issues of Native, Nature, and Nation for Dingoes in an Australian Tourist Location

By Jordie Ricigliano.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 5, 2015 $US5.00

How wildlife is defined, and who gets to define it, has broad implications for how cultures interact with the landscape and with each other. Few wildlife species are as ambiguous, or as contested, as the Australian dingo. At any one moment, the dingo is dually constructed as both pest and protected species, feral and native, friendly and ferocious. These competing discourses speak to, and about, the social groups who purport them. And nowhere else are these debates more heavily contested than on the tourist destination of Fraser Island. This ethnographic research probes how ever-evolving heterogeneous discourses about the dingo relate to eco-social tensions specifically between tourists, residents, Aborigines, and conservation authority on Fraser Island. As these groups construct identities based upon negotiations of ethnicity, nationalism, and indigeneity, they invoke multivocal significations of the dingo as symbol, helping negotiate difficult social debates. Dingoes act as mediators of eco-social relations by speaking directly to themes of nation, native, and natural—a triangulation in the imagination of Australian identity that often unequally serves the interests of certain social groups. By unpacking how wildlife identities and their associated forms of ecological management are constructed, this work aims to aid policy makers in designing more appropriate wildlife management practices.

Keywords: Interdisciplinarity, Political Ecology, Environmental Inequality, Environmental Management, Wildlife Symbolism

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.1-15. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 5, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 774.176KB)).

Jordie Ricigliano

Undergraduate Researcher, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Middlebury College, Santa Barbara, CA, USA