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Carina Sjöholm.

Carina Sjöholm

Universitetslektor, docent

Carina Sjöholm.

The servitization of game meat: recreational hunting in-between wildlife care and holistic tourist experiences

Författare

  • Erika Andersson Cederholm
  • Carina Sjöholm

Summary, in Swedish

Background and aim

The paper is based on a study of hunting tourism enterprising in Sweden. The paper demonstrates how game meat is ascribed different, sometimes conflicting values in the moral economy of commercial hunting and identifies an emerging process of servitization of the game meat.

Recreational hunting in Sweden can be described as embedded in two different but overlapping cultural and socio-economic contexts. One is the traditional non-commercial and stewardship-oriented form of hunting, folk hunting or ‘allmoge’ hunting. It is characterised by a democratic hunting tradition, where the local hunting team is ascribed a main role in wildlife management. These teams often include the landowner, or the landowner may receive either monetary compensation or a proportion of the meat as payment. Another form is the commercial form of hunting, where hunting is packaged and offered to visiting hunters, quite often with services such as accommodation and food included.

These different contexts underpin how the value of hunting is being described by hunters themselves; as wildlife care, subsistence hunting (for meat), community togetherness, cultural heritage, recreation, sport, holistic nature experience, or as a sustainable lifestyle consumption (where the game meat is the main ingredient). The differing values and descriptions of hunting reflects the increasingly multifaceted social characteristics of hunters. Due to demographic factors and urbanization, an increasing number of hunters do not have hunting family background and do not have access to land based on ownership or personal networks. New groups of hunters (including an increasing number of women) form a potential tourism market since they are travelling elsewhere for recreational hunting and are often consuming hunting experiences in a packaged form. Consequently, an increasing proportion of hunters may not be socialized in a subsistence-oriented form of recreational hunting where taking care of the meat is a locally based tradition and common knowledge. The tradition of consuming and circulating game meat, which is common in traditional community hunting, may be facing a social and cultural shift, in line with new hunting traditions and practices emerging with new groups of hunters, and a potential marketization of game meat experiences.

The aim of the paper is to highlight different values related to game meat in connection to hunting, and to discuss the tensions embedded in these values. In particular, the study focuses on the ambiguous character of the hunting experience product, the process of commodifying hunting experiences and how the game meat are becoming servitized in this process.


Methodology

The study is based on ethnographic interviews with 30 operators/owners of hunting businesses based in Sweden, observations of hunting events, and document analysis of hunting media. By analysing the interviewees accounts, we focus on the mode in which the social reality is explained, narrated and justified (Scott & Lyman, 1968). In this mode, we can also discern many different voices or counternarratives in the interviewees’ accounts as they relate to various, sometimes conflicting, positions and opinions of other stakeholders, such as customers, competitors, authorities, landowners, as well as the public.


Theory and preliminary results: The role of meat in the moral economy of recreational hunting

In the Nordic countries, such as Sweden and Denmark, the public is generally supportive of recreational hunting, particularly if it has a utilitarian dimension and if the meat is considered being taken care of (Gamborg & Söndergaard Jensen, 2017; Kagervall, 2014; Ljung, Riley, & Ericsson, 2015; Willebrand, 2009). However, commercialization of hunting is a controversial area, also among hunters themselves. Studies from Norway (Oian & Skogen, 2016) and Finland (Nygård & Uthardt, 2011) and a comparison between Finland and Scotland (Watts, Matilainen, Kurki, & Keskinarkaus, 2017) have shown a similar pattern of ‘frictional resistance’ (Watts et al., 2017) in the local and dominant hunting culture towards hunting tourism. Also studies in Swedish contexts (Dahl & Sjöberg, 2010; Gunnarsdotter, 2005; Kagervall, 2014; Willebrand, 2009) point at a similar direction and have highlighted an ambivalence among hunters towards commercial hunting tourism. In previous publications, we have analysed how these differing, sometimes oppositional, views and traditions among hunters is related to different logics and forms of exchange, highlighting a tension between different value spheres (Andersson Cederholm & Sjöholm, 2020, 2021, 2022). The ‘allmoge’ hunting is in general terms organised by local communities of hunters or through ‘friendship hunting’ a reciprocal relationship where friends are invited to hunt with a team, and the meat is circulated among the hunters and their families. The other is market-oriented, arranging hunting events for visitors/tourists, with differing range of price depending on the segment. These two systems represent different value spheres that both intersect and collide, creating tensions and ambiguity. This is a tension that may be even reinforced considering the circumstance that hunting, as a consumptive form of wildlife tourism (cf. Lovelock, 2008), highlights ethical aspects and can thus be considered to be a morally-contested area (Cohen, 2014; von Essen, 2018).

The analysis departs from literature in economic sociology on the moral economy (cf. Thompson, 1971) and the notion of ‘peculiar goods’ – a specific type of commodity that evokes moral doubt or ambiguity when commodified (Fourcade, 2011). This is the kind of goods that must find legitimacy as ‘products’ (Beckert & Aspers, 2011). This present paper builds on previous analyses and investigates how experiences of game meat are being narrated and promoted by hunting operators as well as hunters themselves. In particular, the paper discusses how the notion of sustainable meat is being servitized, that is, promoted and packaged as an experience to be consumed. For instance, there are emerging entrepreneurial activities related to the game meat initiated by small businesses such as events and courses in cutting meat as well as meal experiences that includes hunting, preparing and cooking the meat. These initiatives can also be seen among non-commercial actors such as local hunting associations. It is demonstrated how the concept “servitization” (Vandermerwe & Rada, 1988) may explain and point at emerging forms of hunting tourism services with the meat as the focal point, while simultaneously shed light on the delicate balancing work and ongoing negotiations in a moral economy where economic values are intertwined and balanced towards social and moral values.


References

Andersson Cederholm, Erika & Carina Sjöholm (2022). Jaktturism – ett delikat balansarbete i en komplex ekonomi. RIG Kulturhistorisk tidskrift, nr 3: 129-146.
Andersson Cederholm, E., & Sjöholm, C. (2021). The tourism business operator as a moral gatekeeper – the relational work of recreational hunting in Sweden. Journal of Sustainable Tourism. https://doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2021.1922425
Andersson Cederholm, E., & Sjöholm, C. (2020). Decommodification as a socially embedded practice: The example of lifestyle enterprising in animal-based tourism. In M. Hall, L. Lundmark, & J. J. Zhang (Eds.), Degrowth and Tourism: New Perspectives on Tourism Entrepreneurship, Destinations and Policy. London and New York: Routledge.
Beckert, J., & Aspers, P. (Eds.). (2011). The Worth of Goods: Valuation and Pricing in the Economy. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Cohen, E. (2014). Recreational Hunting: Ethics, Experiences and Commoditization. Tourism Recreation Research, 39(1).
Fourcade, M. (2011). Cents and Sensibility: Economic Valuation and the Nature of “Nature”. American Journal of Sociology, 116(6), 1721-1777.
Gamborg, C., & Söndergaard Jensen, F. (2017). Attitudes towards recreational hunting: A quantitative survey of the general public in Denmark. Journal of Outdoor Recreaton and Tourism, 17, 20-28.
Gunnarsdotter, Y. (2005). Från Arbetsgemenskap till Fritidsgemenskap: Den svenska landsbygdens omvandling ur Locknevis perspektiv. (Doctoral thesis). Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.
Kagervall, A. (2014). On the conditions for developing hunting and fishing tourism in Sweden. (Doctoral thesis). Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå.
Ljung, P. E., Riley, S. J., & Ericsson, G. (2015). Game Meat Consumption Feeds Urban Support of Traditional Use of Natural Resources. Society & Natural Resources, 28(6), 657-669.
Lovelock, B. (Ed.) (2008). Tourism and the Consumption of Wildlife: Hunting, Shooting and Sport Fishing. New York: Routledge.
Nygård, M., & Uthardt, L. (2011). Opportunity or Threat? Finnish Hunters´ Attitudes to Hunting Tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 19(3), 383-401.
Oian, H., & Skogen, K. (2016). Property and Possession: Hunting Tourism and the Morality of Landownership in Rural Norway. Society & Natural Resources, 29(1), 104-118.
Scott, B. M., & Lyman, M. S. (1968). Accounts. American Sociological Review, 33(1), 46-62.
Thompson, E. P. (1971). The Moral Economy of the English Crowd in the Eighteenth Century. Past & Present (50), 76-136.
Vandermerwe, S. & Rada, J. (1988). Servitization of Business: Adding Value by Adding Services. European Management Journal, 6(4), 314-324.
von Essen, E. (2018). The impact of modernization on hunting ethics: Emerging taboos among contemporary Swedish hunters. Human Dimensions of Wildlife, 23(1), 21-38.
Watts, D., Matilainen, A., Kurki, S. P., & Keskinarkaus, S. (2017). Hunting cultures and the ´northern periphery´: Exploring their relationship in Scotland and Finland. Journal of Rural Studies, 54, 255-265.
Willebrand, T. (2009). Promoting hunting tourism in north Sweden: opinions of local hunters. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 55, 209-216.

Avdelning/ar

  • Institutionen för tjänstevetenskap

Publiceringsår

2023

Språk

Engelska

Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie

31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research – Book of Abstracts

Dokumenttyp

Konferensbidrag

Förlag

Mid Sweden University

Ämne

  • Economic Geography

Conference name

31st Nordic Symposium on Tourism and Hospitality Research

Conference date

2023-09-19 - 2023-09-21

Conference place

Östersund, Sweden

Aktiv

Published

Projekt

  • The social and cultural arena of hunting tourism entrepreneurship

ISBN/ISSN/Övrigt

  • ISBN: 978-91-89786-37-0