segunda-feira, 27 de julho de 2015

From whale to whale: nation and identity in Australia’s opposition to Japanese whaling.

by Colin Salter

Australia has a bifurcated history with whaling. Moving quickly from a pro- to anti-whaling nation in 1979, Australia views itself as providing leadership in a just battle to protect whales. More specifically, protecting our whales from the Japanese Other.
In 2008 the Federal Court of Australia ruled Japanese whaling to be illegal in the Australian Whale Sanctuary, in a case brought by Humane Society International (HSI). On March 30, 2014 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) found the the JARPA II whaling program was not carried out for scientific purposes and its operations must cease. Japan’s has subsequently signalled intent to resume whaling, inspiring renewed criticism.
Whereas opposition to Japanese whaling manifests in disagreements over maritime boundaries, economic zones, jurisdiction, science, and claims of the commercial nature of Japanese whaling, in this paper I will argue that — at its core — the dispute is rooted in differentiated perceptions of, and values afforded, to whales. What I am referring to is the
socio-cultural construction of whales (relationally positioned against other, less noteworthyto-humans, species).
How whales are differently afforded values in Australia (and Japan) comprises a form of animal nationalism. By animal nationalism, I am referring to a process of mapping ‘gendered, raced, and classed ideologies of nation and sovereignty’ onto whales as a means to stake political and cultural claims (Davis 2013: 550). In focusing on discourse in Australia, this paper will interrogate examples of linking identify and nationhood with to concern for whales in the Southern Ocean. Relationally contracted against and evil Japanese whaling fleet — and layered with racist nations linked to Australia as a colonial outpost — opposition to whaling is really about how Australian’s want to see themselves, and how they want to be perceived by others. In short, it’s not really about whales, or Japan.


Colin Salter researches across movements for peace and justice. He is primarily interested in critical animals studies, whiteness, postcolonial studies, gender and masculinity, and microsociology (activism as subcultural practice). In particular, his research explores strategies and approaches to social change (i.e. nonviolent action) in theory and practice. He also has an interest in the use of the internet and social media for social change, and as pedagogical tools more broadly.
His publications include the books Animals and War: Confronting the MilitaryAnimal Industrial Complex, 2014 (editor)—winner of the Central New York Peace Studies Consortium Peace Studies Book of the Year Award; Whiteness and Social Change, 2013; and papers "Animals and War: Anthropocentrism and Technoscience", 2015; "Intersections of the colonial and postcolonial: pragmatism, praxis and transformative grassroots activism at Sandon Point", 2014; and "Activism as Terrorism: The Green Scare, Radical Environmentalism and Governmentality", 2011.

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