Guided by a Lizard: Respectful Organizing and Symmetric Reciprocity with Totem Animals

Karl-Erik Sveiby, Tex Skuthorpe

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter invites the reader to experience and hear the voices of the prehistorical community of the Australian Nhunggabarra First People made alive by their Law stories interpreted by their custodian, Tex Skuthorpe. These Law stories give a unique insight into how precolonial humanity organized respectful relationships with animals. The chapter highlights several of the Nhunggabarra’s organizational solutions and practices, among them the innovative organizing of ‘farms without fences’ as well as a gendered organizing approach that gave women more power over the intergenerational long-term survival of the people than the men. The choice of relational constructivism as epistemology resonates with the experience of the first author and the Law stories, which explicitly describe activities, inter actions, and power relations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Animal Organization Studies
EditorsLinda Tallberg, Lindsay Hamilton
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2023
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-284818-5
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-19-194348-5
Publication statusPublished - 2023
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter


  • 512 Business and Management

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Responsible organising


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