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Cashing in on whales: cetaceans as symbol and commodity along the northern Pacific coast, 1959-2008

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Author: Murray, Okay
This thesis traces shifts in how humans related to cetaceans in the late twentieth century. Economic transitions from whaling to whale watching revealed not only a growing affinity for whales, dolphins, and porpoises but also how humans recommodified animals from resources to objects of research, entertainment, and reverence. In the process new cultural and social fissures opened. Cetaceans divided people by class, geography, and race. Views about whales divided over proprietary rights, scientific discoveries, and regional identity. Humans' interactions with cetaceans revealed much about their relationship with nature and with each other. This thesis uses primary and secondary sources, including studies of wildlife and theme park experiences, news media reports, and oral interviews with whale watching workers, scientists, and activists.
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