How wildlife is defined, and which wildlife is accorded protection, emerges from competing constructions of nature and culture. Few species of Australian wildlife have as ambiguous an identity as dingoes. This paper identifies three dualisms that characterise discourses relating to Australian dingoes Canis lupus dingo. They are at once classified as both a pest and protected species, perceived to be feral and native, and most recently categorised as either pure or hybrid. It is argued that these dualisms are underpinned by different versions of the nature-culture dichotomy. Portrayals and perceptions of dingoes around Australia are explored to reveal how different aspects of the dualisms identified are drawn upon within different contexts. Illustrations of the contradictory constructions of dingoes highlight the need to critically deconstruct discourses relating to wildlife, particularly when they inform actions. As such, this paper demonstrates the important contribution a discourse-sensitive approach can make to understanding human perceptions of wildlife.
Dingo dualisms: Exploring the ambiguous identity of Australian dingoes
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Karen Hytten; Dingo dualisms: Exploring the ambiguous identity of Australian dingoes. Australian Zoologist 1 January 2009; 35 (1): 18–27. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2009.003
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