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The radicalisation of rural resistance: How hunting counterpublics in the Nordic countries contribute to illegal hunting

von Essen, Erica, Hansen, Hans Peter, Nordström Källström, Helena, Peterson, M. Nils, Peterson, Tarla R.
Journal of rural studies 2015 v.39 pp. 199-209
case studies, hunters, natural resources conservation, politics, protected species, society, Finland, Scandinavia, Sweden
Populist hunting movements have risen in recent years to safeguard rural interests against nature conservation. In extreme cases this movement has been accompanied by the illegal hunting of protected species. Using Sweden and Finland as a case study, the article elucidates how the perceived exclusion of hunters in the public debate on conservation mobilised this subculture toward resistance against regulatory agencies. Establishment of an alternative discursive platform comprising several ruralities – counterpublic in Negt and Kluge's original term – allowed hunters to publicise oppositional needs, interests and rationalities in the debate, and was a key juncture in their radicalisation trajectory. Finally the paper argues that failure to grant recognition to the counterpublic radicalised some individuals beyond counterpublic by engaging in illegal hunting. This practice is marked by the termination of political debate with society and represents a danger to political legitimacy.