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Democracy and Sustainable Development in wildlife management: From ‘stakeholders’ to ‘citizens’ in the Swedish wolf restoration process
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

In an attempt to lend legitimacy to the troubled wolf project and to root policies in wolf-affected counties, decision-making was decentralized to stakeholder-based county wildlife management delegations in Sweden in 2009. Drawing from Habermas’ critical theory, this paper suggests that a phenomenon of instrumental rationality is currently circumscribing free and open deliberation in these delegations. Consequently, stakeholders remain fixed in their predetermined positions as wolf-skeptic hunters or pro-wolf conservationists, unable to be swayed by the deliberative process.

The aim of this paper is to identify the barriers to deliberation that account for the perseverance of this strategic stakeholder rationality. Three county wildlife delegations are investigated as examples of this. The paper identifies the following four barriers, which are traced to instrumentality: strong sense of accountability, overly purposive atmosphere, overemphasis on decision as final outcome and perceived inability on the part of the delegates to influence decision-making, which is found by and large to still be ruled by scientists.

Through these findings, it suggests that such barriers cause delegates to censor their own discursive attempts and to act with strategic rather than with communicative rationality toward the decision-making process. Finally, the paper concludes that the effect of instrumentality in these delegations is currently leading to (1) a crisis of legitimacy for the wolf project, as according to Habermas’ theory and (2) reduced individual freedom under the pursuit of sustainable development, as freedom has been confined to the dimension of the protection and promotion of private interests. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 54 p.
Keyword [en]
Sustainable Development, wildlife management, deliberative democracy, stakeholder, strategic rationality, environmental communication
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-174884OAI: diva2:529315
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
, Uppsala
Life Earth Science
Available from: 2012-06-11 Created: 2012-05-29 Last updated: 2012-06-11Bibliographically approved

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