Wildlife Biology in Practice, Vol 6, No 2 (2010)

Wildl. Biol. Pract., 2010; 6(2); 127-143;

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Online ISSN: 1646-2742
Copyright © 2010 Peterson, Hansen, Peterson, Peterson.
Published by: Portuguese Wildlife Society

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    2. Buenz E, Parry G, Peacey M, Chitwood M, Peterson M, Bondell H, Lashley M, Brown R, Deperno C, 2015 Perspectives of wildlife conservation professionals on intensive deer management 39(4) 751 http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/wsb.607
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    5. Buenz E, Parry G, Peacey M, Chitwood M, Peterson M, Bondell H, Lashley M, Brown R, Deperno C, von Essen E, Hansen H, Nordström Källström H, Peterson M, Peterson T, Peterson M, von Essen E, Hansen H, Peterson T, Peterson M, 2014 How Wildlife Management Agencies and Hunting Organizations Frame Ethical Hunting in the United States 19(6) 523 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10871209.2014.928762

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How hunting strengthens social awareness of coupled human-natural systems

  • M. Peterson *
    Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Program, Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Box 7646, Raleigh, U.S.A.
  • H. Hansen *
    Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden
  • M. Peterson *
    Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, U.S.A
  • T. Peterson *
    Department of Urban and Rural Development, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden; Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, U.S.A.


Hunting has the potential to remind modern societies of their reliance on natural systems. As a material and symbolic practice that motivates both hunters and non-hunters to certain actions relative to nature, hunting enables society to experience itself and nature differently than it could if humans no longer hunted. Although hunting may be anachronistic in modern society, certain dimensions of hunting culture may enable society to re-collect a sense of human integration with nature. In this essay, we develop a critical perspective grounded in neo-Marxist and Durkheimian theory to analyze how hunting may contribute to linking humans and nature by rendering the materiality of food production explicit, and how hunting culture strengthens the symbolic meaning of food in ways that are rooted in its materiality. We trace this potential through the practices of searching, killing, processing, and consuming food obtained via hunting. Along the way, we note how technology, both formal and informal social control, and commoditization may constrain hunting’s potential to highlight linkages between human and natural systems.

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Durkheim, food production, hunting, Marx, nature, sustainability.


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