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Management by Totemization: Whale Symbolism and the Anti-Whaling Campaign

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Kalland, Arne
Conference: Common Property Conference, the Second Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Conf. Date: 26-30 September, 1991
Date: 1991
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1437
Sector: Fisheries
Subject(s): fisheries
Abstract: "The anti-whaling campaign has been with us for about two decades by now, and, not surprisingly, the arguments against whaling have changed during these years. The ecological argument that whales are endangered is losing ground and the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) had made it clear that stocks of certain whales species can sustain a regulated harvest. "During the last few years, moral and ethical questions of whaling have come to the forefront. Recently organizations that hitherto have claimed to be concerned solely with ecological issues, have questioned ethics of harvesting whales. Whales have come to hold a special place in the animal kingdom. "Three fundamental questions will be addressed in this paper. First, the process by which whales are turned into symbols taking on the character of totems will be discussed. In their zeal to protect this totem animal against all 'consumptional' use, whalers and eaters of whale-meat are often depicted as savages. Rhetoric will be the second aspect of the paper. Finally, it will be discussed why whales have such great potential as a symbol to an ever-increasing number of people, particularly in the West."

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