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Science, red in tooth and claw: Whaling, purity, pollution and institutions in marine mammal scientists' boundary work
Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1038-2412
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences. (Miljösociologiska sektionen)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6735-0011
2018 (English)In: Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, ISSN 2514-8486, Vol. 1, no 1-2, p. 165-185Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The use of lethal research methods on cetaceans has a long and complicated history in cetology (the scientific study of whales, dolphins and porpoises). In the current era, collecting data through the hunting of whales (sometimes referred to as scientific whaling) remains a source of considerable conflict in various fora, including scientific ones. Based on interviews and documents, this article explores how marine mammal scientists articulate the validity of particular practices and research at both the International Whaling Commission and in professional scientific societies. Drawing on cultural theory, the article explores scientists’ boundary work, describing the purity and pollution of particular whaling practices in different institutional contexts. Respondents on either side of the debate argued for the pure or polluted nature of various positions, often utilising particular idealised values of science: objectivity, honesty and openness regarding how conclusions were drawn. The nature of boundary work performed is then related to the institutional context within which it takes place. This article thus highlights how science’s role in environmental conflicts can be assessed through boundary work that denotes who can legitimately speak for science, on what topics and how science is stage-managed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2018. Vol. 1, no 1-2, p. 165-185
Keywords [en]
Whaling, boundary work, cultural theory, scientific controversy, lethal research
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-69680DOI: 10.1177/2514848618768213OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-69680DiVA, id: diva2:1257094
Available from: 2018-10-18 Created: 2018-10-18 Last updated: 2018-11-07Bibliographically approved

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Whaling, purity, pollution and institutions in marine mammal scientists' boundary work(334 kB)135 downloads
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Lidskog, Rolf

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