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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2018

The impact of modernization on hunting ethics: Emerging taboos among contemporary Swedish hunters

von Essen, Erica


This study examines how processes of modernization affect hunting ethics, including commodification, cosmopolitanism, demographic shifts, technological innovation, and invasive species. The impact of such change processes has been documented in indigenous hunting societies, but not in postindustrial Western hunting communities. Instead, wildlife ethics are often seen as a private matter or a static inheritance from past generations, and not as researchable from a perspective of change. The underexposure of research on ethics in this context is explained as taking place within a framework of ethical subjectivism to the detriment of opening up ethics to a needed conversation as the context for hunting changes in modernity. This study uncovers the hunting ethics of contemporary Swedish hunters in response to modernization and reveals new lines of moral demarcation and emerging taboos for right and wrong hunting. It concludes by considering the virtue of hunting taboos for wildlife conservation.


Ethics; fair chase; globalization; hunting; modernization; taboo; wildlife

Published in

Human Dimensions of Wildlife
2018, Volume: 23, number: 1, pages: 21-38

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Wildlife Management

    Publication Identifiers


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