Wolves, warriors and the policed countryside: Swedish media representations of wolves, their lovers and their enemies
Since 1966, when the wolf population was close to extinction, wolves have been protected in Sweden. The number of wolves has been increasing since the mid 80s. This increase in wolves has also been accompanied by ta discussion on "the wolf issue". Media has played an important role in showing off the debate as particularly polarised and fierce. Attaching binary positions such as lover or hater, urban or rural, culture or nature, educated or uneducated, liberal or conservative and female or male are predominant in media discussions on wolves and wolf policy causing heated emotions and sometimes violent attacks rarely seen otherwise in Swedish generally well-mannered media debates. This debate is also a crucial moment through which the countryside is enacted (Law 2008) The wolf population is, when compared to other species, strictly governed by policies detailing when and how their numbers might be controlled. The content of wolf policies, the level of detail in policies as well as their implementation are under attack from both wolf lovers and wolf haters, both criticising the government to be naive in its attempt to police the countryside. The government recently acknowledged that predator policies in general has failed to gain public acceptance and are employing new ways to legitimise policies. In this paper we analyse how media representations construct the various positions, as well as enacting wolves, rurality and rural people.
- Social Sciences
- animal geography
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