Hunting cultures and the ‘northern periphery’: Exploring their relationship in Scotland and Finland

David Watts, Anne Matilainen, Sami P. Kurki, Susanna Keskinarkaus, Colin Hunter

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10 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)


Hunting is a rural activity and attempts to influence it are often framed, in northern Europe, in terms of ‘urban elites’ seeking to impose their will on ‘rural’ cultures. Hunting cultures are the subject of this paper, but instead of focusing on their relationship with conservation, as most previous work has done, it explores their interaction with proposals to expand commercial hunting tourism to generate endogenous economic development in remote rural areas of Scotland and Finland.

It does so by examining stakeholders' attitudes towards the potential for increased commercial hunting tourism in peripheral areas in Scotland and Finland. The paper identifies a neoliberal policy perspective that recasts such areas as ‘resource peripheries’ and outlines their dominant hunting cultures. Using qualitative, semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, it explores the motives and means for dominant hunting cultures to exert ‘frictional’ resistance on attempts to ‘re-map’ peripheral areas in ways which were perceived to work against their interests.

The paper highlights the importance of taking account of the influence of dominant hunting cultures on attempts to introduce neoliberal economic development policies in resource peripheries, especially where they may have an impact on game resources. By demonstrating the frictional resistance that they can exert on such policies, it sheds light on a neglected aspect of hunting cultures. The paper suggests that, rather than demonstrating the limits of neoliberalism, these northern peripheries are increasingly its deliberately constructed ‘other’. This is because Scotland's and, to lesser but growing extent, Finland's dominant hunting cultures are maintained by people who lives are led for the most part outside the ‘northern periphery’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-265
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date12 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

The authors are grateful to everyone they worked with during the research on which this paper is based and to the Northern Periphery Programme (2007-13) for funding it.


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