The multiple ways in which people relate to animals provide a revealing window through which to examine a culture. Western cultures tend to view animals either as pets or food, and often overlook the vast number of roles that they may play within a culture and in social life more generally: their use in medicine, folk traditions and rituals. This comprehensive and very readable study focuses on Malawi people and their rich and varied relationship with animals -- from hunting through to their use as medicine. More broadly, through a rigorous and detailed study the author provides insights which show how the people's relationship to their world manifests itself t strictly in social relations, but just as tellingly in their relatioships with animals -- that, in fact, animals constitute a vital role in social relations. While significantly advancing classic African ethgraphic studies, this book also incorporates current debates in a wide range of disciplines -- from anthropology through to gender studies and ecology.
Brian Morris Emeritus Professor of Anthropology,Goldsmiths College, University of London