Making of Scientific Whaling: Politics of Conservation, Science, and Culture in Japan

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Making of Scientific Whaling: Politics of Conservation, Science, and Culture in Japan

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Title: Making of Scientific Whaling: Politics of Conservation, Science, and Culture in Japan
Author: Wakamatsu, Fumitaka
Citation: Wakamatsu, Fumitaka. 2013. Making of Scientific Whaling: Politics of Conservation, Science, and Culture in Japan. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: Whaling is one of the longstanding environmental controversies that has sharply divided perceptions and allegiances on a global scale. Despite the international moratorium on commercial whaling, Japan remains one of the few nations that continues to hunt and consume whales for food under the name of “scientific research.” Yet, given the highly polarized and value-laden nature of this environmental controversy, Japan’s resolute pro-whaling stance appears puzzling for whaling has become an economically, socially, and politically insignificant industry within the country. Drawing on fieldwork conducted at a Tokyo-based whaling company, my research explores why and how this marginal industry has survived today amidst fierce international criticism. In this dissertation, I investigate the process of institutionalization and forms of discursive practices by means of which state and industrial actors secure whaling and constrain environmentalist mobilizations. I examine the ways in which both formal and informal political networks are formed across political, bureaucratic, and corporate institutions. I situate this small-elite echelon of pro-whaling protagonists against a backdrop of wider ideological legitimizations, namely cultural and scientific discourses that shape public opinion and perception toward whaling in Japan. By closely examining their organizational and representative practices, this study illustrates how they acquire political power, material advantage, and legitimacy to continue scientific whaling as a state project in Japan.
Citable link to this page: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:10417508
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