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Identity, science and politics indivisible: The Swedish wolf controversy deconstructed

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Annelie Sjölander Lindqvist
Publicerad i Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning
Volym 10
Nummer/häfte 1
Sidor 71-94
ISSN 1523-908X
Publiceringsår 2008
Publicerad vid Centrum för forskning om offentlig sektor (CEFOS)
Sidor 71-94
Språk en
Ämnesord Cultural identify, wolves, local knowledge, expert science, politics
Ämneskategorier Natur- och landskapsvård, Studier av offentlig förvaltning


Although its numbers are steadily increasing, authorities, experts and environmentalists still consider the Scandinavian wolf population to be threatened due to poor pedigree and unlawful killings. An integrated predator policy stipulates that conflicts regarding carnivores must be minimized to assure them continued existence. The recovery of the Scandinavian wolf population has, however, been increasingly contested. While the view that Sweden should take actions to preserve and maintain a wolf population is widely supported by authorities, nature organizations and many members of the public, others disagree, emphasizing that local traditions, values and meanings are being jeopardized as a result of the recovery aims and practices of wolf management. The goal of the central state to work towards the recovery of wolves in Sweden is essentially not a conflict over wolves. Instead, the controversy illustrates how divergent perceptions of the local environment can be understood to constitute inconsistencies regarding how to understand the landscape, and most importantly, what the landscape conveys to people through providing a context for their relationships with 'nature' and with each other. It is in this setting that the recovery of endangered and protected predators unfolds. As will be demonstrated here, central state efforts to achieve an ecosystem that secures the survival of endangered wildlife creates a highly charged political context in which issues of cultural identity, local knowledge and expert science are indivisible.

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