Multispecies contact zones: The entangled interior grounds of domestic livestock keeping

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This study explores the interiority of traditional domestic livestock keeping, in which humans and animals cohabit and produce interior conditions created by the interdependence between the two. In investigating such a setting of cohabitation, this study appropriates Donna Haraway’s proposition of contact zones as spatial and material entanglements created through encounters between multispecies. This study argues that contact zones reflect a new form of interiority that decenters the human perspective in understanding space. This article explores the interiority of human–animal cohabitation by investigating domestic livestock-keeping practices in seven dwellings across three different areas of Central Java, Indonesia. This study focuses on the interior grounds of these dwellings, expanding the previous multispecies discourse that is often limited to the physical boundaries between humans and animals. The multispecies interior is revealed through narrating the caring encounters that alter the material grounds of these dwellings. This study identifies caring encounters created by the direct and indirect contact between dwellers, animals, and animal materials, as well as the spatial and material entanglements produced by these encounters. It concludes that the interiorization of encounters is influenced by the purposes of human–animal relations and the subsequent acts of encounter that create patterns of interdependencies. Such acts alter the experience, configuration, and flow of the material environment, informing the domestic interior programming of the multispecies dwellings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInteriors: Design, Architecture, Culture
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024


  • contact zones
  • human–animal cohabitation
  • livestock keeping
  • material grounds
  • Multispecies


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