Shaping blood. System of kinship between horses in the Palio di Ronciglione
Racehorses are the result of a thousand-year-old human domestication through breeding. These practices of selective reproduction are based on the creation and manipulation of non-human kinship, which is inscribed in the genetic history of thoroughbred and half-bred. The result of an intense period of fieldwork, this research methodologically refers to multi-species ethnography and genealogical models to identify and examine one of these kinship systems relating to the racehorses in the Palio of Ronciglione (Italy). The comparison between the kinship patterns of these horses demonstrates the influence of Italian (notably Sardinian) breeding practices. The cultural categories of ancestry and genealogy are fundamental to comprehending the bloodlines intertwining. However – as this Palio shows – this deep form of human control still remains unable to grasp an otherness so explicit yet so familiar.
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