Michaela Fenske

What Carps are doing to Franconians

Multispecies Societies in the Focus of European Ethnology

Shortlink: https://www.waxmann.com/artikelART103156

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Abstract

It was only in 1999 that the carp was awarded as the fish of the century in Germany, but now at the beginning of the 21st century the popularity of the carp is generally dropping behind other food fishes such as trout or salmon. In Franconia however, this is at least partially different. Here, pond farming, which is growing in importance worldwide, has one of its German centers. The carp is part of a rural economy, which in some ways could be exemplary in terms of helping to solve the crises of our time. The article presents the potentials of multispecies ethnography on the basis of the carp as an efficacious animal in Franconia. Multispecies ethnography considers people being involved in a sociobiological context that shapes living conditions as well as the living beings who interact within them. In this perspective, carps create space in the respective local societies and add value to it, they are a source of food and income, they preserve places of retreat for rare animals and plants, they influence the social order of human societies, they shape the future. The example of carp in Franconia opens up the perspective of an innovative field of research in European Ethnology, which enables the discipline in the context of international anthropologies once again to find answers to current societal challenges.

Keywords
multispecies ethnography, regional cultural analysis, rural economics domestication, fish farming