Topic: Locating the analysis of environmental governance to the ‘subject’: Meaning and interpretation of participation in the management of large carnivores in Scandinavia
Until the middle of the 19th century, there were large populations of the four mammalian carnivores – brown bear, wolverine, lynx and wolf – throughout Finland, Norway and Sweden. Persistent hunting led to profound reduced populations. Today, the populations are increasing and spreading. Their presence is highly disputed by certain stakeholder groups because of uncertain consequences for rural lifestyles, livelihoods and futures. To cope with this uncertainty, environmental collaborative measures are implemented to support the building of legitimate and sustainable management actions. This study of the meaning and interpretation of environmental collaborative governance in three countries – Finland, Norway and Sweden – draws attention to the dynamic, symbolic and intersubjective nature of collaborative institutions. The study, implemented using qualitative methods, takes departure in how governance approaches aimed at building a sense of shared responsibility for land, wildlife and human activities, act as a mode of power imposing subjective, and unique, positions. In this sense, collaborative governance can be understood, to use Foucault’s terminology, as a political technology that combines what Rabinow (1984) refers to as external ‘subjection’ visa internal ‘subjectifiction’. Approaching the collaborative process as an instrument in the organization of society, this case study probes the relationship between governance and subjectivity, analyzing the ways in which the subjects of governance policy constitute themselves, how they think, feel and act, and the actions they take on that basis.