The University of Arizona

Making degrowth locally meaningful: the case of the Faroese grindadráp

Ragnheiður Bogadóttir, Elisabeth Skarðhamar Olsen

Abstract


Abstract While the doxa of growth continues to dominate mainstream understandings of what constitutes a healthy economy, the concept and agenda of degrowth beg for theorization about how culture and power render some economic strategies more viable and meaningful than others. In this article we discuss the highly contested practice of Faroese pilot whaling, grindadráp. Through autoethnographic methods we identify and analyze forces challenging this deep-rooted practice, both within and outside Faroese society. Faroese resistance to abandon the practice, expressed in local pro-whaling narratives suggest that, in the struggle to legitimize the grindadráp as a sustainable and eco-friendly practice, Faroese people are simultaneously deconstructing central tenets of the global food system, and comparing grindadráp favorably with the injustices and cruelties of industrial food procurement. In this sense, we argue that the grindadráp not only constitutes a locally meaningful alternative to growth-dominated economic practices, but may also, in this capacity, inspire Faroese people to reduce engagement with economic activities that negatively impact the environment and perpetuate social and environmental injustices in the world. Keywords: Degrowth, whaling, Faroe Islands, relational ethic, noncapitalism.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2458/v24i1.20888

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