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From the sea to the land beyond: exploring plural perspectives on whaling
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1038-2412
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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-52869ISBN: 978-91-7529-166-6OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-52869DiVA: diva2:1033761
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: 2016-11-18Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Mutual Aid, Environmental Policy, and the Regulation of Faroese Pilot Whaling
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mutual Aid, Environmental Policy, and the Regulation of Faroese Pilot Whaling
2015 (English)In: Human Geography, ISSN 1942-7786, Vol. 8, no 3, 37-48 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the evolution of unwritten regulations and formal government policies in the control of the Faroese pilot whale drive, or grindadrap. This form of whaling has occurred in the Faroe Islands since at least the sixteenth century, probably much longer. Informed by theories of anarchist geography, we discuss specific policies, both formal and informal, regulating when and where whales may be pursued, actions of whalers in boats and onshore, equipment permitted for use, and the distribution of meat and blubber from the hunt that have developed over the centuries in response to internal or external pressures and calls for change. Our discussion gives special attention to a recent change in the regulation of grindadrap, namely the requirement, beginning in 2015, that whalers who participate in the killing process—as distinct from other aspects of whaling—be certified as having attended a training course on the subject. We conclude with a discussion of lessons learned through a reading of anarchist geographies as applied to the topic at hand.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Bolton: Institute of Human Geography, 2015
Keyword
whaling, Faroe Islands, mutual aid, anarchism, environmental policy
National Category
Social Anthropology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-46843 (URN)
Available from: 2015-11-27 Created: 2015-11-27 Last updated: 2016-11-18Bibliographically approved
2. Love-iathan, the meat-whale and hidden people: ordering Faroese pilot whaling
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Love-iathan, the meat-whale and hidden people: ordering Faroese pilot whaling
2016 (English)In: Journal of political ecology, ISSN 1073-0451, E-ISSN 1073-0451, Vol. 23, 26-48 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A key question in any environmental dispute is the nature of what is under discussion. 'Cosmopolitics' – political battles over the form of reality – are a feature of many environmental clashes. This article focuses on one such clash: during the summer of 2014, grindadráp – the iconic practice of driving pilot whales for meat – was the big news item in the Faroe Islands. More accurately, a conservation campaign by the controversial group Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), Operation Grindstop 2014, garnered most attention. Aiming to stop or at least disrupt the 'barbaric' and 'sadistic' grindadráp, SSCS were involved in several confrontations with Faroese authorities and publicly engaged with Faroese pro-whaling advocates in several discussions that were seemingly fruitless. Based on 3 months fieldwork during the campaign, this article describes a 'political ontology' of Grindstop 2014. What emerged was a 'hybrid' born of a clash between two fundamentally dissonant systems of ordering, which structured and were reinforced by various practices, both discursive and material. Activists on both sides were engaged in a cosmopolitical struggle to decisively enact their orderings, creating alternative stories of whales, Faroese whaling, the ocean environment and modernity. The aim is to understand what happened when these orderings met. This article argues that throughout the summer these two orderings moved apart, consequently hiding the diversity of opinion and discussion within Faroese society around grindadráp. As such, alternative orderings of grindadráp were suppressed, notably those voiced by Faroese activists arguing that the practice should cease because of the high levels of toxins in pilot whale meat.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Tucson, USA: University of Arizona Libraries, 2016
Keyword
Faroe Islands, whaling, political ontology, cosmopolitics, Îles Féroé, chasse à la baleine, l'ontologie politique, cosmopolitique, Islas Feroe, caza de ballenas, ontología política, cosmopolítica
National Category
Social Anthropology Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-49328 (URN)000381699200006 ()
Available from: 2016-03-14 Created: 2016-03-14 Last updated: 2016-11-18Bibliographically approved
3. Inclusive hunting: Examining Faroese whaling using the theory of socio-cultural viability
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Inclusive hunting: Examining Faroese whaling using the theory of socio-cultural viability
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53557 (URN)
Available from: 2016-11-18 Created: 2016-11-18 Last updated: 2016-11-18Bibliographically approved
4. What’s missing from Ostrom? Combining design principles with cultural theory
Open this publication in new window or tab >>What’s missing from Ostrom? Combining design principles with cultural theory
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-53558 (URN)
Available from: 2016-11-18 Created: 2016-11-18 Last updated: 2016-11-18Bibliographically approved
5. Clumsiness and elegance in environmental management: applying cultural theory to the history of whaling
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Clumsiness and elegance in environmental management: applying cultural theory to the history of whaling
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
Keyword
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:nbn:se:oru:diva-48328 (URN)10.1080/09644016.2015.1112492 (DOI)000371009000002 ()2-s2.0-84958167038 (ScopusID)
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: 2016-11-18Bibliographically approved

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