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Clumsiness and elegance in environmental management: applying cultural theory to the history of whaling
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1038-2412
2016 (English)In: Environmental Politics, ISSN 0964-4016, E-ISSN 1743-8934, Vol. 25, no 3, 414-433 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The global whaling debate is one of the most well-known environmental disputes; despite the continued moratorium, both whaling and conflict continue. This endless discord has been criticised as deleterious to whale conservation and as imperialistic towards whaling communities. The history of the whaling debate is examined through the lens of cultural theory (CT). CT argues that there is productive potential in respectful interaction between different perspectives on an environmental issue. Using CT, modern whaling past and present is reconstructed, tracking how different actors have come to prominence, altering the nature of the policy landscape through their actions. Since the onset of modern whaling, whales and whaling practice have been conceived in narrow terms, depending on the dominance of particular actors on either side of the debate. Proposed solutions to the impasse are assessed according to the maxims of CT.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2016. Vol. 25, no 3, 414-433 p.
Keyword [en]
environmental politics; whaling; cultural diversity; conservation; Cultural theory
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology) Globalization Studies Social Anthropology
Research subject
Sociology; Enviromental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-48328DOI: 10.1080/09644016.2015.1112492ISI: 000371009000002Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84958167038OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-48328DiVA: diva2:903675
Note

Funding Agencies:

Vega Fond grant from Svenska Sällskapet for Antropologi och Geografi

Frodskaparsetur Foroya travel scholarship

Available from: 2016-02-16 Created: 2016-02-16 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. From the sea to the land beyond: exploring plural perspectives on whaling
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From the sea to the land beyond: exploring plural perspectives on whaling
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A perennial challenge in efforts to deal with environmental issues is the question of how to simplify. As such, where and when one simplifies is often a source of conflict, but perversely also paramount to finding a solution. This thesis focuses on one long-standing environmental issue, the whaling debate. Specifically, it performs a strategically sited microethnography of Faroese whaling, grindadráp, exploring linkages between actions on local and international scales. This thesis aims to contribute to environmental sociological efforts to analyse and resolve complex socio-environmental problems.

The five papers that together constitute this thesis collectively provide a description of grindadráp from the local scale of the bays where pilot whales are killed to the international forums where whaling as a whole remains an issue at the heart of an on-going, deadlocked conflict. Primarily based on three months’ fieldwork in the Faroe Islands, this thesis combines observation, interviews, media and other literature. The theoretical lenses employed are that of the ‘ontological turn’ and the ‘theory of sociocultural viability’ (cultural theory). The former utilised as a tool for ethnographic practice with the latter used to analyse how different perspectives on reality manifest throughout the whaling conflict.

This thesis demonstrates that grindadráp has changed through time as a result of the interactions between actors with different views on the matter at hand. However, in contrast to the global whaling debate, this interaction has been mostly constructive, with appropriate changes in practice ensuring grindadráp’s continued popularity within the Faroe Islands. Furthermore, its continuation will likely depend on grindadráp’s continued ability to balance different perspectives. This thesis thus echoes environmental sociological calls for improved dialogue in the framing and resolution of environmental disputes, suggesting that cultural theory provides a tool that balances relativism and pragmatism in dealing with complex environmental problems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university, 2016. 119 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Sociology, ISSN 1650-2531 ; 21
Keyword
whaling, Faroe Islands, ontological turn, cultural theory, the commons, political ecology, environmental conflict, environmental policy, conservation
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-52869 (URN)978-91-7529-166-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-12-09, Örebro universitet, Forumhuset, Hörsal F, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-10-10 Created: 2016-10-10 Last updated: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved

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