The tourism business operator as a moral gatekeeper: The relational work of recreational hunting in Sweden

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Abstract

The article analyses how hunting tourism businesses in Sweden navigate in the nexus between moral and economic value spheres. Through the analytical lens of ‘moral gatekeeper’, the business operators are depicted as acting from a position where they navigate in a contested space. The analysis demonstrates how the operators balance different norms and practices of recreational hunting, wildlife management, business ethics and customer expectations. The study is based on ethnographic interviews with business operators, observations of hunting arrangements, and document analysis of hunting media, with a focus on narratives and accounts of value. The findings show a complex moral economy where stewardship hunting and gift economics are both intertwined with and kept separate from market relations, which makes the hunting arrangements appear as a ‘peculiar’ form of commodity. The analysis demonstrates how moral arguments concerning wildlife management and human well-being are embedded in market relations and discourses on experiences, entailing seemingly opposite forms of commodification. One is related to calculable values, as in trophy hunting, and one is related to the embodied experience of nature. The study provides nuanced and contextual knowledge of the intertwinement of personal and market relationships in recreational hunting and the commodification of wildlife experiences.

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Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)

Keywords

  • hunting tourism, moral economy, peculiar goods, relational work, balancing work, gift exchanges
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021 May 13
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes

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